VW executives and singer Katy Perry launch the Jetta in New Yorks Times Square

VW executives and singer Katy Perry launch the Jetta in New York's Times Square

Volkswagen has targeted volume of over 100,000 units a year of its new Jetta sedan in the US where it's the brand's best seller - the outgoing model accounted for half the brand’s 214,000 local sales in 2009.

Mark Barnes, interim chief of VW’s North American operations, told Bloomberg News he expected the new Jetta be a “very nice volume product for us. The goal is to bring the masses to VW who currently believe they cannot afford a VW.”

The company is cutting the price of the extended Jetta, which goes on sale in October, to about US$16,000 from the current base of $17,735, bringing it closer to the starting prices of the rival Toyota Corolla and Honda Civic stickered at $15,450 and $15,455 respectively.

VW aims to sell 1m cars and SUVs annually in the US by 2018, with Audi accounting for 20%.

Central to achieving this target is the company’s new assembly plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee, which should begin production in the third quarter of 2011. It will produce an additional model, larger than the Jetta, specifically for North American customers.

Asked about the possibility of a second model on the Chattanooga line, Barnes told Bloomberg: “Certainly there’s enough room to expand, but our focus is on the new mid-sized sedan.”

The Jetta is produced at VW’s recently expanded plant in Puebla, Mexico, which has capacity to make 450,000 cars a year.