There's a certain type of car shopper who wants to pay as little as possible and still be able to say they bought a new vehicle. For this stingy crowd, we present the cheapest 2011 Volkswagen Jetta you can buy. Hope comes optional.
First spotted by the keen eyes of the VWVortex board, these Jettas are the blank-faced leaders of Volkswagen's drive to bring hordes of new buyers into showrooms by lowering its prices. For sale in Massachusetts, four brand-new Jettas, sporting the cheapest mechanical pieces possible from the VW parts bin such as the 115-hp 2-liter engine, and lacking both a radio and air conditioning. (Power windows are still standard.)
This special Scrooge McDuck edition Jetta carries a sticker of only $13,865 and likely can be had for the parsimonious buyer with good credit for less than $100 a month. Considering VW itself doesn't even advertise such a model on its website, it's likely the dealer placed a special order to get the magical sub-$14,000 price just to generate some traffic.
But the question remains: Why buy it?
There's an argument for stripped-down new vehicles, but those arguments don't usually include Jettas. In its favor the 2-liter, 115 hp engine's not the worst canvas for tuning, there's a decent 5-speed manual as God and Henry Ford intended, and most other automakers are raising their prices; there's only one Chevy Cruze nationwide listed for less than $14,000 before whatever incentives General Motors may cough up.
Yet add-ons not only add up quickly, they depreciate far faster than the rest of the car. There's slightly more buyers for stripped used cars than for new ones, but a far wider swath want some amenities, especially air conditioning. And if you're into working on cars, $14,000 buys far more interesting machines.
To settle this, here's a special Friday edition of the Nice Price or Crack Pipe poll. You be the judge.