Saturday, October 6, 2007

Dub City

I am amused to no end by Volkswagen's marketing of the City Golf and Jetta in Canada. They've taken Mk IV models (we're now on Mk V in both the US and Canada) and grafted on new front ends. The result is the following:

You can also check them out here, with another short blog post with more pics here. There are a few things that pique my interest about this. First of all, I don't think I've ever seen this kind of "amortization" technique before. Sure, GM and Ford have done this several times before, such as with the Ford F-150 "Heritage", the Chevy Silverado and the Chevy Classic, née Malibu. But in such cases the vehicles are carried over unchanged. VW has breathed new life into the twins with new styling for the front end. They've actually reworked the taillights, but they're still the same shape. The Canadian website only has pics from the front, though, I'm assuming out of fear that shoppers will see the familiar rear fascias and realize the ploy. You have to check out the Chinese version, the Bora HS, to find this out.

The other source of my amusement is styling of the City Jetta, which takes so much from the last generation Passat, from the grille to the way the headlights dip down at the outside edges. I remember seeing the Bora HS a while ago, which is actually the Golf with the City Jetta front end. Nevermind that the Bora was VW's name for the Mk IV Jetta around the world. Okay, so are you sufficiently lost by now? Then my job is done.

Actually, this is a good example of the complexity of the worldwide auto market, as I've discussed in previous posts, notably The Mercury That Could Be and An aside on the industry for beginners. My education on the industry continues, and this VW strategy is just part of the curriculum.

I'd love to hear what my readers think about this. Does seeing a $15,300 City Golf next to a $20,175 Rabbit in the showroom make the Rabbit seem overpriced? Is this just a great way to further amortize the investment in the Mk IV cars? Does the new front end make it seem as if VW is trying to pull the wool over its customers' eyes? Post a comment with your two cents.

1 comment:

kevin said...

Just a few things...
1. Please don't EVER mention the Chevy Classic again. I just threw up in my mouth a little when I read the name and was reminded of the shocking unpleasantness.
2. The City Jetta, or Jetta City, whatever, looks like those cheap little Polos VW sells in Mexico. I'd bet that the factories in MX are mainly churning out the City cars for domestic Mexican consumption, but sending a few to Canada just for the hell of it. (YES, a check of has just confirmed that). The Mexican market demands cheaper cars, thus they could make money there by slapping on a more Mexi-VW front end and doing a bit of de-contenting.
3. The City Jetta headlights make the car look kinda depressed. As though the car had hoped to retire but instead is soldiering on...
4. Do you think that the Chinese Bora HS is short for "hot shit"?

All of that said, I think that seeing a $15300 City Golf parked next to a $20175 Rabbit will help VW sell more cars. They could use a less expensive car in the US too, one that gets better fuel economy.The new fronts on the City-cars make them look cheaper to my eyes, which helps the Rabbit parked next to them look more expensive, and worthy of its higher MSRP.