By Drew Johnson
Thursday, May 17th, 2012 @ 4:22 pm
 
Volkswagen has been widely criticized for cheapening the interiors of its latest Jetta and Passat models, but the automaker's top U.S. designer says not a dime was spared in design of either car.

When VW's new Jetta hit the market, many in the media lamented that fact that the German automaker had sacrificed interior quality in the name of achieving a lower price point. The same could be said for the new Passat, which debuted a few months later. However, Jae Min, chief designer-group interior at VW's Design Center California, says VW didn't cut corners in either car.

"We didn't take (cost) out," Min told WardsAuto. "We just rebalanced where (the money was spent). We moved it from here to there."

He added: "Whatever was taken out went right back in."

We find Min's words hard to believe - especially considering VW clearly cut costs in other areas, such as the Jetta's beam rear axle - but the strategy certainly has worked. Jetta sales increased 43.9 percent last year and Passat sales were up a whopping 80.9 percent. Moreover, transaction prices have remained steady for both models, despite a drop is starting MSRP.