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Volkswagen Spins Jetta Model Into New Brand for China

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【Summary】The most affordable car in Volkswagen’s lineup will help the German brand draw younger customers in in China, acting as its own brand.

Original Vineeth Joel Patel    Mar 02, 2019 6:00 AM PT
Volkswagen Spins Jetta Model Into New Brand for China

For those of us in the U.S., the Volkswagen Jetta is the most affordable vehicle in the automaker's lineup. In China, the "Jetta" moniker will soon mean something else. Volkswagen announced that it would come out with a Jetta brand for the Chinese market that would help the German brand compete with domestic auto manufacturers in the country. And while the Jetta may signify the most affordable way to get into a VW for consumers in America, the decision to have a spinoff Jetta brand is also a move upstream.

What's so Special About the Jetta?

Why use the Jetta nameplate? Well, the model is extremely popular in China. "To this day, it is one of Volkswagen's most popular models in China – a real icon," said Jürgen Stackmann, Member of the Volkswagen brand Board of Management responsible for Sales. "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.

In China's more suburban areas, domestic automakers handedly outsell foreign brands. Buyers in these areas are young, first-time buyers looking for an affordable method of transportation. Volkswagen's new Jetta sub brand looks to take the fight to Chinese automakers with cars and SUVs that have reasonable price tags.

At the time of launch, Volkswagen plans to have three models to sell under the Jetta brand. One will be a sedan and two will be SUVs. All three vehicles will be produced in China as part of Volkswagen's partnership with First Automobile Works (FAW). FAW, which is China's oldest automaker, also has plans to help BYTON build its electric cars, too.

New Cars, New Ways to Reach Consumers

In addition to selling cars under the new Jetta brand, Volkswagen is taking an innovative approach to how it will actually sell the models. "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."

If there's one thing that has become painfully obvious in the U.S. the last few years, it's that young buyers aren't interested in purchasing a vehicle in a traditional method. Bringing new ideas to the table on how to sell vehicles to a younger audience will help VW's overall plans. By the end of 2019, VW is looking to have 200 Jetta dealerships in place in China.

Volkswagen didn't provide many more details about the vehicles. We wouldn't be surprised to see them have some kind of electrification, especially with China's recent crackdown on emissions.

China is Volkswagen's largest market, as the German automaker sold a total of 3.11 million vehicles in the country last year. Adding a separate, distinct Jetta brand to appeal to a specific demographic will only help VW boost its sales in a crucial market. With everything that's going on with tariffs in the U.S., we don't expect the vehicles to make the trek from China to be sold in North America.


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