"If there was one vehicle model strong enough to become
its own brand, then it¡¯s the Jetta," said VW brand sales chief Juergen
The Jetta brand will launch in China in the third quarter with a
sedan and two crossover models. The brand and models have been developed with
VW's northern Chinese joint venture partner, FAW.
A third of the Chinese light-vehicle market is positioned below the main volume segment, where the
Volkswagen brand is the market leader, VW said. Jetta will aim to capture
market share in the entry-level segment, where 80 percent of customers
are first-time vehicle buyers.
Jetta will be aimed primarily at customers in China's so-called Tier 3 to
Tier 5 cities that together comprise roughly half the overall light-vehicle market and are predominantly served by Chinese brands at present.
Stackmann said VW¡¯s latest brand would be focused on the needs of
young, confident, open and progressive 25-35 year olds and serviced by a
dealer network of around 200 showrooms when it launches.
Despite its price tag of around 38,000 yuan to 46,000 yuan (5,000 to 6,000 euros) on average,
Stackmann said Jetta would not be positioned as a budget or economy
By year end there will be around 200 dealers offering cars under
the Jetta brand, VW said. The brand would also directly approach
customers, in shopping malls, for example, or via mobile sales trucks.
By launching a new entry brand in China, the main VW brand can be shifted higher, Stackmann said.
VW has been the industry leader ever since it entered China in 1985.
The brand wants to more clearly position itself as "top of volume,"
where it would be considered the most aspirational of all mass-market
Geely, Changan and Great Wall¡¯s Haval unit are three domestic brands that have closed the sales gap with western competitors recently.
government, worried that the country's automakers were losing out, in 2009 required joint
ventures between foreign automakers and their Chinese peers launch
proprietary brands. Over the next few years, most global automakers
created new brands under local partnerships. But only the Baojun brand
at General Motors' light-vehicle joint venture with SAIC Motor Corp. and
the Venucia marque under Nissan Motor Co.'s partnership with Dongfeng
Motor Group have routinely rolled out new products.
2018, Baojun brand sales fell 16 percent to 839,612 while deliveries at
the Venucia brand dropped 6 percent to 134,381. Both Baojun and Venucia
are entry-level brands and their target competitors are domestic
Chinese brands. Sales at other brands that foreign automakers have
introduced under China joint ventures remain small largely because they
typically have only one product ¨C often a rebadged old model which was
obtained from a global automaker.
The broad variety of competitors also highlights just how fragmented
the Chinese market remains, as only six brands sold more than 1 million cars and light trucks despite some 24.4 million new passenger cars purchased last year.