2009 Jetta TDI (source: VW)
To Volkswagen’s credit, it and Mercedes have rarely waivered from offering at least a few diesel vehicles here in the States. Because of that heritage, customers who are diesel minded tend to immediately associate diesel technology with these brands. However, that isn’t the whole story. Volkswagen simply offers a large selection of diesel vehicles at attractive prices.
Let’s consider BMW is an example of diesel done slightly wrong. Firstly, BMW offers the 3 Series 335d. The 335d is a great car: Enough torque (425 lb ft) to pull the dying elm tree out of your front yard and still deliver a fabulous 36 mpg on the highway. However, you can’t get the 335d as a wagon or with a manual transmission. That is a mistake in my opinion. While not offering a manual might be seen as a cost saving approach by BMW (one less configuration to certify with the Feds) there is very little excuse for the non-wagon stance. Clean diesel TDIs represented 81 percent of Jetta SportWagen sales in July. That is a landslide my friends! Also, BMW might have been better suited with a less powerful, less costly, more fuel efficient diesel motor. The 335d starts at $43,900 MSRP, but what if BMW had offered a smaller diesel with a sticker slightly under $40K? As Honda learned with the failed Accord hybrid sedan, green buyers don’t necessarily want high performance.
Enough picking on BMW already, let’s take a closer look at Volkswagen’s July numbers.
Volkswagen's Jetta, Jetta SportWagen, and Touareg TDI, posted their best sales month since their re-launch with 6,320 units -- accounting for more than 30 percent of total sales. The Jetta SportWagen for the third consecutive month posted its best sales month ever with sales of 2,415 units; clean diesel TDIs represented 81 percent of SportWagen sales, and 40 percent of Jetta sedan sales.
"Volkswagen of America is extremely pleased by how well our clean diesel TDIs continued to sell throughout July, and by our highly successful first month of the government sponsored 'Cash-for-Clunkers' Program," said Mark Barnes, Chief Operating Officer, Volkswagen of America, Inc. "It was not by accident that Volkswagen was able to perform so well in the government 'Cash-for-Clunkers' Program. Our dealers were well informed and fully trained on the rules of the program, our marketing was in place, and our product line of fuel efficient vehicles all contributed to a successful first month. I'm thrilled that our dealers were able to respond so well to the 'Cash-for-Clunkers' Program," added Barnes.
Below is some running footage of the Jetta TDI sedan: No audio, just video.