A sedan and two Jetta SUVs will go on sale later this year.
Volkswagens are popular in China. The automaker sold 3.1 million cars in the country last year, making it VW’s largest market. Additionally, VW is also China’s largest car brand in terms of sales, so the manufacturer certainly has more than a passing interest in building vehicles for Chinese customers. Despite the unstoppable SUV onslaught, the face of VW in China has long been the venerable Jetta, where the Mk2 version of the compact sedan was actually built through 2010. Now, VW is hoping to play off that branding by launching an entire Jetta brand later this year exclusively for the Chinese market.
“In China, the Jetta plays an extremely valuable role for us as a Volkswagen model,” said Jürgen Stackmann, VW board of management member responsible for sales. “It has brought mobility for the masses, just like the Beetle once did in Europe. Developed by Volkswagen and built in China, the Jetta China has placed China on four wheels. To this day, it is one of Volkswagen’s most popular models in China – a real icon. This is why we are transforming a model into a brand for the first time in the history of Volkswagen and establishing a separate model and brand family.”
While many automakers are relatively new to the Chinese market, Volkswagen Group China actually formed back in 1985. The second-generation Jetta went into production through VW’s FAW-Volkswagen Chinese partnership in 1991, built in-country with various facelifts through 2010. Recast as a brand, Jetta will build a single sedan and two SUVs produced by FAW-Volkswagen and sold through a new Jetta dealership network with approximately 200 locations. Included in the dealership plan are innovative approaches including digital showrooms and shopping mall locations, along with traditional stores.
Jetta sales are slated to begin in the third quarter of this year.
JETTA to become new brand of Volkswagen in China
With the new JETTA Brand, Volkswagen intends to exploit its market potential in China even more effectively. In many cities with millions of people outside the metropolitan regions such as Beijing or Shanghai, vehicle ownership levels are still very low, in some cases below 100 cars per 1,000 inhabitants. At the same time, members of a growing middle class are striving for individual mobility with the first car of their own. With the new JETTA brand, Volkswagen especially intends to target these young Chinese customers. The JETTA model range, which is to be produced by FAW-Volkswagen in Chengdu, will include one sedan and two SUVs. Sales are scheduled to start in the third quarter of this year.
Jürgen Stackmann, Member of the Volkswagen brand Board of Management responsible for Sales, says: “With JETTA, we are closing the gap between the established VW lead brand in the top volume segment and entry-level mobility, which accounts for about one third of the Chinese market and is served mainly by local brands. This way, we will significantly increase our market coverage.”
JETTA is based on the key elements of the Volkswagen DNA: quality, safety, value and a clear design language. With the introduction of JETTA, the Volkswagen umbrella brand will be able to position itself even more clearly as “top of volume” with its vehicles and to further sharpen its profile. In addition, with this offering specially tailored to the needs of the Chinese market and developed together with FAW-Volkswagen, Volkswagen is forging ahead with the further regionalization of the market.
Stackmann: “In China, the Jetta plays an extremely valuable role for us as a Volkswagen model. It has brought mobility for the masses, just like the Beetle once did in Europe. Developed by Volkswagen and built in China, the Jetta China has placed China on four wheels. To this day, it is one of Volkswagen’s most popular models in China – a real icon. This is why we are transforming a model into a brand for the first time in the history of Volkswagen and establishing a separate model and brand family.”
New approaches are also to be adopted in sales. JETTA will establish its own network of dealerships and will approach customers directly with innovative sales formats – digital showrooms, shopping malls and mobile sales trucks. By year end, about 200 dealers are to offer the new brand.
In China, the Volkswagen brand delivered 3.11 million vehicles to customers last year (down 2.1 percent on the previous year). With a share of almost 50 percent in worldwide deliveries, China is therefore Volkswagen’s largest single market. In a market affected by an overall fall in sales (-4.6 percent compared with the previous year), Volkswagen was able to win market shares. In 2018, Volkswagen also delivered the 30 millionth Volkswagen to a Chinese customer. Since Volkswagen came to China more than 30 years ago, the brand has clearly asserted its number one position. China is not only the world’s largest automobile market but is also at the forefront of the greatest transformation ever experienced by the automotive industry. The country is the new powerhouse for e-mobility, digitalization, connectivity and autonomous driving.
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