Volkswagen has big plans for sedansApril 15, 2020
Volkswagen sold 1.6 million compact sedans in China last year.
Is the sedan gradually dying away in the automotive environment, or will it continue to be popular along with pickups and SUVs? According to the latest Volkswagen sales reports, it actually depends on the geographical location. While Texans are still tied to their Ford and Ram trucks, the prospects for China, where VW sold more than 1.6 million compact sedans last year, are different. In addition, compact sedans accounted for almost a third of global shipments.
In comparison, just over 100,000 units of the Volkswagen Jetta, the only compact sedan on the local market, were sold last year in the United States. In China, the brand offers at least six sedans to cater to a market that values large luggage racks and spacious interiors, with less emphasis on the desired image that makes high-end SUVs so popular.
The news comes after China recovers from the Covid-19 pandemic, which triggered a widespread cessation of automobile production. However, Volkswagen now claims that most of its Chinese plants have been rebuilt and operational, and the remainder of 2020 will enable the German brand to consolidate its growing market share in an Asian country.
The leader was the Lavida sedan, a third-generation SAIC-Volkswagen product. Last year alone, 491,000 Lavida units found homes in China, making it “the best-selling model of all manufacturers in 2019.” FAW-Volkswagen is another joint venture of the German brand in China, and among its successes is the Bora sedan, which sold 323,400 copies last year. Like the Lavida, an electric version of this sedan is also on sale in this market.
The Jetta name lives on in the new Jetta sub-brand launched in China last year. The Jetta VA3 sold 145,000 units last year, although it is a much smaller model than the Jetta sold here, using only a 1.5-liter engine with 110 horsepower.
Interestingly, a survey conducted by Ipsos (Market Research Institute) last month showed that more and more Chinese intend to buy a car over the next six months. Of the 1,620 respondents, two-thirds plan to do this, and the indicated reason is that a personal car is less susceptible to infection than other modes of transport. Although the impact of Covid-19 on the automotive industry was largely negative, this study indicates potential growth when plants return to full production.
So yes, the sedan not only lives, but is also an important player for major brands in the Chinese market. In America, the prospects for trucks are completely different. Apart from flagships such as the Honda Civic and Toyota Camry, both of which are still leading the US in car sales last year, sedans have a hard time. As more and more sedans lose popularity in the US, at least for purists, there is little consolation that in other parts of the world, leading automakers such as Volkswagen are still seeing the classic bodywork gaining momentum.
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