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Text and photos by Cor Steenstra
The VW Jetta has been the bread and butter vehicle for VW on the American market the last few years, so getting “it” right with the next generation was of very high importance. Getting “it” right obviously means a lot of market research into the the likes and dislikes of the American people, and in that respect, getting objective groups of representative target audiences together is already a huge task, getting them to help you about products 3-5 years into the future seems to be out of their league.
Nothing negative about this kind of market research, since it definitely does give an insight into people,Â but it is a bit risky to hang your complete design development on the opinion of people who generally do not think further than the current moment in time, and have no clue about any future other than how it relates to where they are in their lives, how close they are to wedding off their children, how close they are to retirement, and what car the neighbors and friends will most likely drive next.
Relying primarily on that sort of input gives you an average peace of cake that nobody really wants, but since it is there, and it is the right color, and it does not upset anyone, why the heck not..?
Volkswagen has a very different sort of reputation in America. It is the brand that offers something different, something unique, some of renowned German high quality at a reasonable price. The 2011 VW Jetta offers only the latter, high quality at a reasonable price. If that is enough to lure crowds of people into the showroom, one has to wonder?
Design wise the Jetta is far from unique, it is far from different, in fact it is very close to being conservative. People are enticed to go to showrooms only by the beautiful pictures of the gorgeous cars they need to have. They definitely do not go there because they have spotted the right blend of average. No matter how well the surface treatment on the exterior of the Jetta is executed, it does not show that in the initial pictures, and it is most likely beyond subconscious comprehension of the people who do end up in the showroom.