Singer Katy Perry launches the Jetta in Times Square

Singer Katy Perry launches the Jetta in Times Square

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The importance of the mid-size Jetta sedan's sales in the United States was highlighted by a launch event in New York city starring singer Katy Perry amid talk of volume up as much as a quarter and US sales in total doubling by 2012.

The automaker is eyeing US market share of 3.5% to 4% in the next few years, up from 3.1% now, US chief Stefan Jacoby said.

“By 2018, Volkswagen of America wants to triple its annual sales volume to about 800,000 vehicles...,” VW said. “The new Jetta plays a key role here [and] sells at a rate of 110,000 units per year. We want to increase this figure.” Jacoby added the aim was 120,000 to 130,000 a year by 2012.

The Jetta, the 'Golf with a boot' also known as the Bora and Vento over the years, with 9.6m sales to date, is particularly popular in the US where the new one will start at US$16,000, about $1,000 lower than the outgoing line, in a bid to attract some of those extra buyers. VW said the redesigned sedan now shares no exterior panels with its Golf hatchback sibling which is more popular in key European markets.

The redesign has stretched the wheelbase 2.76in (7cm) and exterior length (3.54in/9cm. The interior is roomier and trim accents can now be changed over by dealers.

US/Canada engine options will include a new 103kW/140PS TDI 'clean diesel' (BIN 5 emissions standard) and, later, the 77kW/105PS 1.6 diesel already available in Europe.

Of the three petrol engines, the entry level 85kW/115PS unit is new; the 125kW/170PS 2.5-litre (I5) and 147kW/200PS two-litre TSI are carried over.

Manual transmission is standard with automatic optional while the new TDI and TSI engines will get  six speed twin clutch DSG autos.

There will be six engines for Europe and four of these are new to the Jetta: 1.2TSI (77kW/105 PS), 1.4TSI (118kW/160PS) 1.6TDI (77kW/105PS) and 2.0 TDI (103kW/140PS). The 1.4TSI (90kW/122PS) and 2.0TSI (147kW/200 PS) continue and all bar the 1.2 TSI, have optional six- or seven speed DSG.

The 1.2 TSI and 1.6 TDI are also available with the BlueMotion lower emissions package including start-stop and battery regeneration.