Posted May 18th 2012 11:00AM
There was a lot of built-up excitement surrounding the larger and less costly 2011 Volkswagen Jetta, but the anticipation deflated among critics when the model's less-than-impressive interior was revealed to the world. Critics chided the cheapened cabin, and quite a few negative reviews followed.
It's tough to argue that in the process of its upsizing, the Jetta's interior wasn't downgraded with lesser plastics and trim. The 2012 Passat does a much better job in this regard, but even then there are some areas where it feels like cost has been taken out of the cabin. But none of that is apparently enough to stop designer Jae Min from taking issue with these characterizations. Ward's Automotive reports that VW's chief U.S. designer claims that the Jetta and Passat interiors were not the victims of cost-cutting. Min claims that the money was simply re-purposed, with money shifting "from here to there." The designer went on to add that the automaker was able to lower the starting price of both vehicles in part because of more flexible vehicle architectures and shifting production from Germany to the States.
While Min sounds convinced that no pennies were pinched, we're not so sure – unless when he says money was shifted "from here to there" he means "from where you can see and feel to where you can't." Regardless of what we think, one statistic is impossible to argue: Jetta sales have shot up 43.9 per cent this year and Passat sales have skyrocketed by 80.9 per cent. That, ladies and gentlemen, is letting the numbers do the talking.