Blog: VW China's plan to replace two big sellers
Glenn Brooks | 6 July 2011
VW of America sold the same basic car as the Quantum almost 30 years ago
Much of my working day is occupied with researching details for future model programmes. Something I was seeking answers for earlier was what will replace the long-lived Santana and Santana Vista which Volkswagen sells exclusively in China. This was for PLDB, our past, present and future models database.
The source I tapped suggests that a project is underway that will see the latest, Mexico-made Jetta given a makeover and turned into the replacement for one of China's favourite large cars and Shanghai's most popular taxi. I had originally expected the current cars to be phased out during 2011 but as they continue to sell well, it's understandable that the successor won't now appear until 2012.
You'll have to take a free trial (see the link to PLDB further down this page) or be a subscriber to see the codename, model name, production location and other details. But what I can tell you here is that Shanghai VW and FAW Volkswagen should be between them building and selling no fewer than four mid size/upper medium VW-branded sedans next year, two of which will be freshly launched. The cars in question are the New Passat, New Lingyu, New Magotan (production of this facelifted model has just started) and Santana/Vista replacement.
The Santana Vista is the best seller of all VW China's current Passat-based sedans, with 48,814 finding owners in the first five months (numbers for June are not yet out) but the Honda Accord remains the segment leader with 61,818 sales in the same period. The Santana, which dates to 1983, isn't too far behind its namesake, with 46,160 sold between 1 January and 31 May.
The Santana series is clearly big business for VW China, especially considering how long ago the tooling and other major costs will have been paid off. So getting the successor model just right is clearly crucial to the firm's continued domination of the local market.
I'm starting to get a small idea of the scale of things here in China, but really, I'm only scratching the surface of this vast country....
Given the startling complexity of obtaining a journalist visa for China - the code 'J2' is now indelibly stamped on my mind - it was with some surprise how swiftly I managed to sail through airport im...