VW reveals new compact sedan
11 May 2011
China has (swiftly) become the world’s most important new car market and as one of the world’s biggest manufacturers, VW takes its operations in the People's Republic rather seriously.
To outline just how amazingly robust the Chinese car market is, simply unpack VW's latest sales figures.
In the first quarter of 2011, Shanghai Volkswagen sold 227 835 vehicles, while FAW Volkswagen shifted 225 256 units (including 42 667 Audi models). Those numbers are comparable (and as a combined total, superior) to the entire yearly South African passenger car market.
No surprise then, to have VW announce it will soon build a new China-specific premium sedan as part of a joint venture with Shanghai Auto Industry Corporation (SAIC).
The new compact sedan is expected to be Jetta-sized and although technical details are currently non-existent, VW says it will feature the brand’s "most advanced platform and engine technology."
In a market as rampantly active as China, a new model is always welcome to ensure sales momentum keeps steaming ahead.
Politically the new car is crucial for VW’s long-term partnerships in the region. SAIC has long desired to build a more premium VW (it currently assembles Polo, Touran, Santana, Lavida, Passat and Tiguan), with the promise of larger margins per unit and greater profitability. VW’s other Chinese joint venture assembly partner, FAW, has traditionally been seen as the favoured associate having been given licence to build the brand's more premium offerings such as Golf, Jetta, Sagitar, New Bora, Magotan and (Passat) CC.
Could VW's new compact sedan find its way to other BRICS markets - such as South Africa - where its combination of (promised) powertrain sophistication and affordable VW brand equity will prove undoubtedly popular? Well, once it actually has a name, we'll know more...