Volkswagen Jetta to Get Subtle Upgrades—And a New 1.4-liter Turbocharged Four

Volkswagen’s new Americanized Jetta will be improved quietly over the coming year, executives from the company have told us. Some of the things we criticized when the car launched, such as the standard rear drum brakes, have already been addressed—all Jettas, regardless of trim level, now have four-wheel discs—and others are going to be dealt with soon. Interior materials should be upgraded somewhat; higher-trim-level models will switch to a soft-touch dashboard from the current hard. In the U.S., the European-grade squishy dash has been found exclusively in the Jetta GLI.

The more interesting news, though, is a probable change in the powertrain department. At present, the engine in a plurality of Jettas sold—if not the majority—is a 2.5-liter inline-five. We’ve already reported that in some VW models this engine could be replaced with a turbocharged 1.8-liter four, but it now appears that engine will only sub in for the 2.5 in larger models like the Passat. The Jetta would instead ditch its 2.5 for a new 1.4-liter turbo four.

Read the complete Car and Driver Blog article here

Volkswagen tops YouTube with most views in 2011

“The Force,” a Volkswagen spot starring a pint-sized Darth Vader attempting to start a Passat, has generated more than 45 million views on YouTube, making it the website’s most-viewed ad of 2011.

Chrysler’s Super Bowl ad, which introduced the “Imported from Detroit” campaign and featured Eminem driving the city in a 200 sedan, has generated 13.4 million views to date, making it the third most-viewed commercial on YouTube this year.

Wieden+Kennedy, a Portland-based firm, produced the Chrysler commercial while Deutch of Los Angeles produced the spot for Volkswagen.

That anyone would actively seek out advertising, let alone 45 million people, is a relatively new phenomenon highlighting the continued impact of the Super Bowl and the growing influence of the internet. As YouTube noted in its official blog, advertisers are increasingly focused on the online space, with some companies launching web-only campaigns.

“Even the two Super Bowl ads making the list, Chrysler and Volkswagen, were part of elaborate campaigns made to live significant lives on the web,” wrote Michael Learmonth, senior editor for Advertising Age.

“In the past, advertisers treated their Super Bowl spots like state secrets, but Volkswagen posted ‘The Force’ on YouTube two weeks before the Super Bowl last year, and had 10 million views before the game began.