Volkswagen of America Product Plans for Jetta, Passat, SUVs Are Becoming Increasingly Transparent

2018 Volkswagen Jetta - Image: VolkswagenVolkswagen’s 2019 Jetta will be revealed this winter at the 2018 North American International Auto Show in Detroit. From the get-go, the Jetta will be available with a manual transmission, reports VWVortex. The Jetta GLI that follows one year later will almost certainly be marketed with the manual transmission Volkswagen killed off with the 2018 model year, Motor Authority says.

These and other details are becoming increasingly clear as Volkswagen’s North American CEO Hinrich Woebcken begins to release a great many details about Volkswagen’s next few years of product launches.

This is what we know so far.

Woebcken says dealers who’ve seen the seventh-generation Jetta are “extremely excited.” Of course, Volkswagen wouldn’t likely tell us if dealers laid eyes on the car and were extremely dejected. Regardless, Woebcken says the next Jetta has been given even more of a “North American touch,” claiming that such a touch relates to the “specific needs of the market” and not to low cost/less content. From launch, the Jetta will be marketed in an R-Line trim, a package Volkswagen plans to offer on more vehicles in the United States in the future.

One notch up from the Volkswagen Jetta is the Volkswagen Passat, which will complete an eight-year model run before being replaced by a MY2020 Passat. While Woebcken says the next Passat “will be recognizable as a Passat,” it won’t be a merely evolutionary design.

The Volkswagen Arteon is still a year away from sale in U.S. Volkswagen dealers, though the car is already on sale in Europe. Inside Volkswagen HQ, the replacement for the Volkswagen CC is thought to stand a greater chance at achieving meaningful sales volume — the CC generated roughly 140,000 U.S. sales since 2008 — despite the CC’s rapid loss of popularity and the decline in demand for sedans, generally. CC sales tumbled 66 percent between 2011 and 2014.2018 Volkswagen Tiguan - Image: VolkswagenOn the utility vehicle front, specifically the T-Roc’s deletion from Volkswagen of America’s product plan, Woebcken says Volkswagen has a “better idea than the T-Roc for North America.” The Volkswagen T-Cross, a Polo-related subcompact crossover, is a possibility. Europe’s second-generation two-row Tiguan — we’re offered only the larger Tiguan (referred to across the pond as the Tiguan Allspace) — seems to have potential, as well, based on Woebcken’s response to VWVortex. Whatever the vehicle, we can expect to see it in 2019, as Woebcken says 2017’s SUV-centric year will be followed by a sedan-focused year in 2018 and another SUV-focused year in 2019.

As for the Golf, Mexican publication Al Volante reports that production will be moved out of Mexico and back to Europe in 2019. Al Volante says this is the final year of Puebla production for the Beetle, while the Mexican plant will be tasked only with building Jettas, Tiguans, and T-Rocs.

Like Volkswagen marketing director Greg Tebbutt said in regards to Volkswagen’s U.S. sales recovery, Hinrich Woebcken paints a particularly rosy picture regarding Volkswagen’s current U.S. demand, as well. Absent any diesels, which once accounted for a quarter of the brand’s sales, Volkswagen is on pace to sell 353,000 vehicles in the U.S. in 2017, down a fifth compared with 2012.

“We have the potential to be the strongest growing brand in this country,” Woebcken says while referencing different aspects of year-over-year growth. Of course, sharp growth figures are easier to come by when your brand collapsed, losing huge numbers of buyers as the market grew to record heights.

[Images: Volkswagen]

Timothy Cain is a contributing analyst at The Truth About Cars and and the founder and former editor of Follow on Twitter @timcaincars and Instagram.