The Volkswagen Jetta (About this soundlisten (help+info)) is a compact car/small family car manufactured and marketed by Volkswagen since 1979. Positioned to fill a sedan niche above the firm's Golf hatchback, it has been marketed over six generations, variously as the Atlantic, Fox, Vento, Bora, City Jetta, Jetta City, GLI, Jetta, Clasico, Voyage, and Sagitar (in China).
Numerous sources note that the Jetta nameplate derives from the Atlantic 'jet stream' during a period when Volkswagen named its vehicles after prominent winds and currents (e.g., the Volkswagen Passat (after the German word for trade wind), Volkswagen Bora (after bora), and Volkswagen Scirocco (after sirocco).
A 2013 report by former VW advertising copywriter Bertel Schmitt, said that â after consulting VW sources including Dr. Carl Hahn, former Volkswagen of America Chief and W.P. Schmidt, former sales chief at Volkswagen â no evidence suggested Volkswagen employed a naming theme for its front-drive, water-cooled vehicles; nor was there evidence the names derived from a theme; nor that a naming system "was ever announced, either officially or confidentially.
Volkswagen briefly considered producing the Jetta in a plant located in Sterling Heights, Michigan in the US. However, due to declining sales in North America, the decision was postponed and abandoned in 1982. The site was subsequently sold to Chrysler in 1983 and was in operation as of 2009. This generation was also produced in SFR Yugoslavia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, under the joint venture Tvornica Automobila Sarajevo (TAS) for the Balkan area.
Volkswagen was an early adopter of passive restraint systems. The first generation cars could be equipped with an "automatic" shoulder belt mounted to the door. The idea was to always have the belt buckled thereby doing away with the requirement that the driver and passenger remember to buckle up. Instead of a lap belt, the dashboard was designed with an integrated knee bar to prevent submarining underneath the shoulder belt.