Why doesn’t Volkswagen offer more Fuel Efficient Cars in the US?

Comparing the German and US offerings of Volkswagen is very frustrating. I’d imagine most people in the US won’t know (since they don’t speak German) and thus happily buy their 2.5 liter/170 HP Jetta with EPA estimated mileage of 24 MGP (9.8 liters/100km).

In Germany, this is not even an option, because the engine is weigh oversized for that kind of car. In Germany, you can buy this car with a choice of NINE different engine configurations for the entry level model (Catalog, Technical Data, Price List, all in German) . In the US you get ONE. But this isn’t the worst part. Why doesn’t Volkswagen offer at least a fuel efficient engine in the US market?

For instance, the 1.6 liter, 5 gear manual transmission with has 102 horse power and an estimated mileage of 31 MPG. This would be a good alternative for folks that like to have a fuel efficient Volkswagen and don’t want to wait for the Diesel version which is scheduled to come out later this year.

One Response to Why doesn’t Volkswagen offer more Fuel Efficient Cars in the US?

  1. Well, I think the answer to the your question might be: because Volkswagen assumes the customer wants it that way. Ever since Americans liked cars with big engines and huge displacement. Compared to my 5.7 Liter V8 (which is called a small block) even the 2.5 Liter Jetta Engine is actually small.

    Only the high fuel prices during the last months forced Americans to rethink their attitude. And they actually did. Gas guzzling SUVs are now offered with large discounts (up to 40%), because nobody wants them anymore. Smaller and more fuel-efficient cars are now what is asked for. And you’re right, if Volkwagen would be clever they could take great advantage of this situation with their line-up of fuel-efficient cars and offer them in the U.S..

    But there is light at the end of the tunnel. Volkswagen recently announced to build a new plant in Tennessee, where smaller and more fuel-efficient cars can be produced. Source:

    http://www.volkswagenag.com/vwag/vwcorp/info_center/en/news/2008/07/US_Tennessee.html

    So maybe in a few years you will see a VW Polo on american streets. Here’s an outlook how it might look like:

    Sorry for those of you who don’t speak German, haven’t found it English. Main thing is they are argueing who gets Peter (the Polo GTI Driver) in his team, because the car makes him sporty 😉

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