Volkswagen’s Jetta is becoming its own brand in China, and the German automaker has big plans for its first-ever spin-off of a model into a brand.
One sedan and two SUVs will be available at launch, with the company targeting younger buyers with the new brand.
Sales will begin in the third quarter of this year.
With Jetta, VW is muscling in on China’s entry-level auto segment, which it says is currently served mostly by local brands and consists of one-third of the local market.
It noted that the growing middle class in China is looking to buy their first car, and the new brand is part of its strategy to offer quality and value for money for these first-time buyers.
The Jetta brand will also take “new approaches” in sales. It will establish its own network of dealerships and will approach customers directly with innovative sales formats – digital showrooms, shopping malls and mobile sales trucks among some of them.
VW expects 200 dealers to offer the new brand by the end of the year.
To entice customers, the Jetta brand will be based on key elements which make a VW…a VW, with a focus on quality, safety, value and a “clear design language”.
The cars will be manufactured in Chengdu by FAW-Volkswagen, the 60:20 joint venture between Chinese state-owned FAW Group and Volkswagen AG.
The factory currently produces models like the Audi A6L and Volkswagen Golf for the China market.
“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,” said Jürgen Stackmann, a member of VW’s board responsible for sales, adding that this will “significantly increase” the automaker’s market coverage.
As to why VW is spinning off the Jetta specifically, Mr Stackmann said it is one of its most popular models in China, and it makes sense to establish a separate model and brand family around it.