11 Volkswagen Jetta Facts & Statistics You Should Know

The VW Jetta is a popular choice boasting great gas mileage, roomy seats and a comfortable ride.

This guide presents important facts about the Jetta to help you become a well-informed car buyer.

We review annual sales performance, depreciation rates, fuel economy, emission ratings, and so much more.

How Many Volkswagen Jetta Have Been Sold in the US Per Year?

In recent years, the Jetta has posted annual sales figures that consistently put it in the top 10 best-selling compact cars in the US. In recent years it has sold in the region of 100,000 units each year.

The Jetta was introduced to the world in late 1979 and was offered to the North American market in 1980. 

Since then, it has enjoyed moderate to strong sales performances, with a few dips throughout the decades.

From 1999 – 2019, Volkswagen sold more than 90,000 units per year, making the model one of the best-performing vehicles from the VW family.

Of the seven generations so far, it was the sixth-generation Jetta that holds the record for the most number of units sold in a year, having sold roughly 177,000 units in its debut year.

Here are the yearly sales figures of the Volkswagen Jetta, taken from carsalesbase. 

YearTotal Sales

What Year Did Volkswagen Start the Jetta Model?

The Jetta was offered to the US Market in 1980. Despite low sales in Europe, the Jetta soon became the best-selling European car in North America, Canada, and Mexico.

The initial version of the Jetta was offered in two-door and four-door sedan bodies, both of which had a similar three-box design.

The second-generation Jetta, also known as the Jetta Mark 2, was the longest-running Jetta version, having been offered for roughly 8 years. 

This Jetta was a massive success and was awarded the “Best European-made Car” in North America. 

Its platform was based on the Volkswagen Golf’s second generation platform, offering a larger build that could accommodate five individuals as opposed to the initial version’s four.

The downward trend of sales in North America was a cause for pulling out of the market, but the third generation Jetta, in 1993, became the flagship model and continued to be the brand’s leader in North American sales for years to come.

Listed below are the 7 generations of the Volkswagen Jetta:

  • 1st Generation: VW Jetta A1 (1979/1980)
  • 2nd Generation: VW Jetta A2 (1984)
  • 3rd Generation: VW Jetta A3 (1992)
  • 4th Generation: VW Jetta A4 (1999)
  • 5th Generation: VW Jetta A5 (2005)
  • 6th Generation: VW Jetta A6 (2011)
  • 7th Generation: VW Jetta A7 (2018)

Today, the Jetta comes in five trim levels:

  • Jetta S ($18,995)
  • Jetta SE ($22,895)
  • Jetta R-line ($22,795)
  • Jetta SEL ($25,745)
  • Jetta SEL Premium ($28,045)

You may also be interested in our article: Where Are Volkswagen Jettas Made?

How is the Fuel Economy on the Volkswagen Jetta?

The Jetta has good gas mileage, with a fuel economy of 33 miles per gallon in combined driving situations.

Being a compact car means that it doesn’t guzzle fuel like the bigger vehicles on the road such as SUV’s and pick-ups.

In the US market, all Jettas are equipped with a 1.4-liter TSI engine. 

A TSI (turbocharged stratified injection) engine is a relatively small, lightweight, yet high-powered engine developed by VW for its petrol-engine vehicles.

The TSI engine is known to be very fuel-efficient without sacrificing much of the performance.

Found below is a table containing the breakdown of figures for the fuel economy of the current Jetta models provided by Edmunds.

AT denotes automatic transmission, MT denotes manual transmission.

VariantCity (MPG)Highway (MPG)Combined (MPG)
Jetta S 1.4-liter MT304134
Jetta S 1.4-liter AT293933
Jetta SE 1.4-liter AT293933
Jetta R-line 1.4-liter MT304134
Jetta R-line 1.4-liter  AT293933
Jetta SEL 1.4-liter AT293933
Jetta SEL Premium 1.4-liter AT293933

You may also be interested in our article: How Long Do VW Jettas Last?

How Quickly Does the Volkswagen Jetta Depreciate?

Unlike other VW models, the VW Jetta does not hold its value very well.

According to figures provided by Car Edge, the average depreciation rate of the Volkswagen Jetta is 52% after a five-year period, this means it will retain just 48% of its original value after 5 years of normal use – roughly half its original value. 

For those looking to sell their Jetta this isn’t great news however for potential buyers it means second-hand models can be picked up for very reasonable prices.

To get the best possible re-sale value for your Jetta:

  • Keep your car stored in a garage out of the elements
  • Clean the vehicle regularly to help prevent rust
  • Adhere to required maintenance schedules
  • If any problems occur, have repairs done immediately

Did Volkswagen Recall Any of the Jetta Models?

The Jetta has had several recalls throughout its life.

The most recent large-scale Jetta recall campaign was for its 2016 – 2018 model year variants, with over 210,000 units affected.

The massive recall campaign was due to a fire risk caused by loose bolts that could lead to fuel leakage. 

A more famous recall, though voluntary, was that of the emissions scandal, which affected all Jettas from the year 2009 – 2015.

Our research has yielded no comprehensive data regarding the annual figures of recalls for the Volkswagen Jetta in particular.

If you are a Jetta owner and would like to know if your vehicle is part of any recall campaign, visit Volkswagen’s website to check using your vehicles VIN code.

Here is the total number of recall campaigns for the Volkswagen Jetta:

  • 2021: 3
  • 2020: 3
  • 2019: 7
  • 2018: 3
  • 2017: 7
  • 2016: 5
  • 2015: 9
  • 2014: 7
  • 2013: 8
  • 2012: 9
  • 2011: 11
  • 2010: 6
  • 2009: 7
  • 2008: 6
  • 2007: 6
  • 2006: 6
  • 2005: 7
  • 2004: 5
  • 2003: 4
  • 2002: 7
  • 2001: 7
  • 2000: 5

How Much Do the Jetta Models Pollute?

Nowadays, it is important to keep an eye out for vehicles that are not environmentally friendly.

Fortunately, despite a rough history with pollution and carbon dioxide emissions, the current Jetta’s downsized 1.4-liter TSI engines are much more environmentally friendly than its predecessors.

Based on data provided by nextgreencar, the 1.4-liter Jetta is compliant with Euro 5 standards with a carbon dioxide emission rating of 144 grams per kilogram based on a tailpipe test. 

The NGC rating for the Jetta is 45 out of 100, which means that it is not the best model to choose if you prioritize environmental friendliness.

It also helps that in the US market, Volkswagen no longer offers the diesel variants of the Jetta, which are more harmful to the environment.

While there is an ongoing debate between the newer diesel engines being more environmentally friendly than today’s petrol engines, the former still contributes more air pollution in urban areas and major cities. 

In relation to the Jetta’s diesel variants, Volkswagen ended up in a massive emissions scandal. 

They installed cheat technology to end up with eco-friendly emissions, different from the standard emissions of the Jetta during regular use.

This scandal prompted Volkswagen to enter into a massive voluntary recall program, in which they would buy back affected Jettas and pay the buyers for the damage caused.

How Much Can the Jettas Tow?

Towing is not recommended for this particular model. 

There are no official figures for the towing capacity of the Jetta.

Although you can customize your Jetta to be capable of towing, it is not recommended for the casual driver.

If you find yourself in a situation where towing with your car is the only choice, then it may help to know that the average towing capacity of compact cars is around 1,500 pounds.

Ultimately, we do not recommend using your Jetta to tow, as per VW guidelines.

How Reliable is a Volkswagen Jetta?

According to the J.D. Power assessment tool, the Jetta is a reliable car, scoring 85 out of 100 points (great) in terms of quality and reliability.

The quality and reliability tool of this assessment tool measures the malfunctions, defects, and design flaws experienced by Jetta owners. 

This category covers the whole vehicle from engine performance to the quality of the infotainment system.

A higher score means fewer problems are experienced. 

The top-rated car within the Jetta’s segment, the Kia Forte, secured a quality and reliability rating of 90 out of 100 points.

How Safe is a Volkswagen Jetta?

The Jetta is definitely a safe car.

According to assessments conducted by the IIHS, the Jetta scored “good” (best possible rating) in all six crashworthiness tests.

NHTSA also had positive feedback for the Jetta. The model secured the following ratings:

  • Overall – 5 of 5 
  • Frontal crash – 4 of 5
  • Side crash – 5 of 5
  • Rollover – 4 of 5

The Jetta possesses multiple airbags, a blindspot monitor, ABS, ESC, traction control, brake assist, and many other safety features.

What is the Typical Buyer Demographic for this Model?

According to a 2019 assessment by J.D. Power Data, Jetta owners are more or less evenly split between genders, with 51% being male and 49% being female. The median age is 47 years old and these owners have a median household income of $73,750.

People who buy Jettas are after the price and value of the vehicle, typical of those looking to acquire a compact car or sedan. 

They also prefer a more responsive vehicle with good power and acceleration. 

It was also determined that Jetta owners are individuals who need a versatile vehicle for their busy lifestyles.

Volkswagen Jetta Theft Numbers

In 2019, the Jetta made OurAutoExpert.com’s top 25 list of most stolen vehicles, having a recorded 352 thefts for the year.

Aside from the information above, there are no other reported figures for the theft rates of the Jetta in the US. 

However, we managed to find figures for the earlier years from NHTSA.

YearNumber of Thefts

You may also be interested in our article: Volkswagen Jetta In Snow & Winter Driving? 



  • Ian Sawyer

    Growing up with a father who was a mechanic I had an appreciation for cars and motorcycles from an early age. I shared my first bike with my brother that had little more than a 40cc engine but it opened up a world of excitement for me, I was hooked. As I grew older I progressed onto bigger bikes and...