The Volkswagen Group has launched its long-rumoured value brand for the Chinese market, and it's turned one of its most popular nameplates into its own brand.
The new entry-level Jetta brand plans to have 200 dealerships across China by the end 2019, and will also use "innovative sales formats", including digital showrooms, a presence in shopping malls and mobile sales trucks.
The Jetta brand will target value conscious buyers who typically prefer local brands.
When sales start, the Jetta range will consist of one sedan and two crossovers. At today's announcement, the company displayed images of two of the as-yet-unnamed models.
The red sedan (pictured above) is a Skoda Rapid, which has been reworked to incorporate the brand's corporate nose design.
The yellow crossover (above) seems to rejigged version of the Chinese market Skoda Kamiq, which uses the older PQ46 platform, rather the MQB architecture employed by the just-unveiled European and Australia version.
In addition to sporting a front-end like the sedan, the crossover also features a new tailgate, redesigned tail-lights, a different rear bumper, and a squarer rear-quarter window.
Jürgen Stackmann, head of sales for Volkswagen, explained why the company decided to repurposed the Jetta brand as a new marque: "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.
"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.”
Jetta-brand vehicles will be produced by FAW Volkswagen, one of two joint ventures the German automaker runs in the country. It will be the third brand in the FAW Volkswagen portfolio after Volkswagen and Audi.
The other joint venture, SAIC Volkswagen, produces vehicles for both the Volkswagen and Skoda brands.
Based in Changchun, around 150 kilometres from the border with North Korea, FAW Volkswagen concentrates on the north of the country and is responsible for roughly a third of the Volkswagen Group's sales in China.