The car manufacturers are having their fun with the Detroit and Chicago auto shows, but soon, it’s collision repair’s turn again. Several conferences are coming…
Nearly half of the next-generation 2019 Volkswagen Jetta unveiled last month is ultra-high-strength steel, with the majority of that a stronger hot-formed variant.
Volkswagen spokesman Mark Gillies wrote in an email Monday that the Jetta is 35 percent ultra-high-strength hot-formed steel, 12 percent ultra-high-strength steel, and “39 percent extra high strength steel.”
A Volkswagen diagram of the next-generation European 2018 Tiguan Gillies provided last year defines its hot-formed ultra-high-strength steel as greater than 1,000 megapascals, other ultra-high-strength steel as less than 1,000 MPa, and “extra-high-strength steel” as less than 420 MPa but a minimum of 220 MPa. Presumably, those VW metal definitions extend to the Jetta as well.
While the Jetta is clearly a different vehicle class than the SUV, the information Gillies provided about the Tiguan’s MQB-based architecture might help give repairers anticipate where the different grades of steel might occur on the car.
The diagram for the European Tiguan indicates that areas including the A- and B-pillars, transmission center tunnel, front floorwell (kickout panel), roof rails, inner frame rails, and rear floor crossmember are all the gigapascal-plus “ultra-high-strength hot formed steel.”
Regions including the Tiguan’s shotguns, another floor crossmember and roof crossmembers and other roof supports connected to the roof rails are ultra-high-strength steel below 1,000 megapascals.
Delivering this combination of lightness and strength through ultra-high-strength steels comes with a tradeoff. For body shops, many if not all of these parts will be replace-only and carry very specific heat and sectioning restrictions. Following repair procedures will be crucial to preserve the passive safety of the vehicle’s passenger cage.
In terms of active safety, Volkswagen brand Chairman Herbert Diess told the North American International Auto Show on Jan. 15 that the vehicle’s advanced driver assistance systems offer a “dramatic increase in safety.”
Research indicates that the combination of Volkswagen forward collision warning and autobraking, both of which are available on the Jetta, has in the past led to the number of crashes involving third parties being “almost halved,” Diess said.
The new Jetta will hit dealerships next quarter and start at $18,545, less than the outgoing 2018 model. Diess called it “the best Jetta of all time.”
Other elements possibly of interest to collision repairers:
- LED headlights and taillights are standard.
- A panoramic sunroof is available as an option.
- “The coupe-like impression of the Jetta is reinforced by an offset roofline known as a ‘phase’—a narrow strip that runs parallel to the actual roofline and into the C-pillar—which visually reduces the car’s height,” Volkswagen wrote in a news release last week. “Beneath the shoulder, on the level of the door handles, there is a precisely carved character line that runs as an undercut. Its shadow surface tapers toward the rear, slightly arrow-shaped. … The side sills here are marked by an integrated light line, which continues into the rear body.”
- Post-collision braking, which prevents further forward motion once the car detects a crash, is available as an option.
- New Jettas carry the “People First Warranty,” which lasts for the shorter of six years or 72,000 miles and transfers to everyone else who buys the car until the warranty period expires.
Volkswagen, Feb. 8, 2018
Volkswagen, Jan. 15, 2018
A 2019 Volkswagen Jetta on display at the 2018 North American International Auto Show. (John Huetter/Repairer Driven News)
Panoramic sunroofs like this one on a 2019 Volkswagen Jetta on display at the 2018 North American International Auto Show are available as options on the car. (John Huetter/Repairer Driven News)
A Volkswagen Feb. 8, 2018, news release emphasized the lines on the side of the 2019 Jetta. (Provided by Volkswagen)