With the release of the sixth-generation Volkswagen Jetta, it seems appropriate to look at the history of this influential model and the impact it has had on the market. Like the Golf, the Jetta has been extremely popular, with wide success in the United States as well as other parts of the world, and ever since it’s first incarnation in 1980, the car has grown progressively larger in size and power with each generation.
The first generation was released in 1980 available in a 2-door or 4-door saloon/sedan as a way of matching demand for a tradition three-box-saloon design. Notable for its angular design by Giorgetto Giugiaro, superior safety measures and its upmarket interiors, the Jetta quickly became a popular choice for the United States, eventually setting its place as the best-selling European car in the United States, Mexico and Canada.
The second generation would follow in 1984, with a similar design but allowing seating for more people as well as a larger and heavier body. Thanks to innovations such as the optional trip computer, transmission mounts and silicon dampened engine – all of which helped to reduce noise levels and vibrations. This was further developed in 1988 with the creation of an electronic fuel injection system, known as the Digifant Engine Management system.
The third generation, released in 1992, was renamed the Volkswagen Vento in European companies but kept the Jetta name in North America. The styling of the car was different this time, introducing aerodynamic measures and refinements over the second generation. It was also at this time that sales in North America began to dwindle, but thanks to this generation, they rebounded significantly and remained the best-selling Volkswagen in the United States.
The fourth generation which came to light in 1998 was known as the Volkswagen Bora throughout the world. Still popular in comparison, this generation played it a bit safer than others – despite offering a number of extras. This model was also released just after the Volkswagen Passat, with which it shares some similarities in terms of appearance. The Bora was highly regarded for safety measures and anti-theft facilities, which bolstered reviews. This particular model is still manufactured and marketed in China, as well as being sold in countries such as Canada, Argentina and Brazil.
The fifth generation which appeared in 2005, being put up for sale in USA before any others, was an important point for Volkswagen, who had just spent over £500,000 on upgrading the production factory. This particular model has a variety of names, such as the Vento and Bora, as well as the Sagitar and GLI. There was also a greater focus placed on the styling of the new model, with a chrome front grille.
The sixth generation, announced in North America in June of 2010, is larger yet cheaper to produce than the fifth generation. With this generation, Volkswagen hope to target the American mass market and create an affordable yet reliable car. Already proving popular within the market, the Jetta is expected to reach the same leasing levels of Golf leasing within the UK.
The new Jetta went on sale on July 22nd and has already received good reviews. It will go on sale in European markets in 2011, with a hybrid model and a sedan version also planned for the year.