Interesting to be in the US this week with Volkswagen, and to hear the mighty German technological powerhouse admit that actually, low-cost simplicity is what’s needed to score success in North America.
“Truth is, we’ve been trying to push over-specified, over-engineered and over-priced cars on the American consumer,” said VW communications expert Christian Buhlmann. That’s quite a statement coming from a VW man, whose employer prides itself on innovation and engineering.
“People who buy sub-$30,000 cars in the US aren’t looking for automatic parking brakes or direct injection engines.
“We know from our market research that they’d like to buy a VW, but can’t afford one because our cars have been at least 10 per cent over-equipped and over-priced for them. So we’re moving downmarket a little in order to tap into the market.”
That’s where the new Jetta comes in. US versions of this car will have a torsion beam back axle, old-fashioned hydraulic power steering, a hard plastic dashboard, torque converter autos instead of DSG ‘boxes and multi-point injection, normally aspirated petrol engines.