Volkswagen To Accelerate Product Lifecycles In North America

Volkswagen has plans to more quickly redesign the mainstays of its North American vehicle lineup, starting with the upcoming redo of the Jetta and Passat.

Marc Trahan, VW Group of America’s vice president for quality and service, said that as a result of feedback from dealers and customers, the automaker will now refresh/facelift its models every three years instead of five, while generational overhauls will now take place every five years, instead of seven. The current sixth-generation Jetta was introduced for the 2011 model year, while the most recent version of the Passat — designed specifically for North American and Chinese markets under the NMS project — has been on sale since 2012.

“We want to keep the models fresh and attractive,” said Trahan. “One of the things we have heard from our dealers and also from the market is that the cars aren’t being freshened like some of our competitors.”

The Jetta received a moderate refresh for the 2015 model year, and VW says the Jetta is slated for a complete redesign — expected to put it on the automaker’s new MQB platform — in time for the 2017 model year. The new Passat, meanwhile, will be ready for 2018. The cars will both have more equipment as standard while featuring more available features, mostly in the areas of infotainment and navigation systems.

“Consumer expectations are quickly changing,” Joerg Sommer, VW of America’s vice president of product marketing and strategy, told Edmunds. “We have to update much faster.”

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