How Volkswagen Names Cars In China Will Screw With Your Mind

Illustration for article titled How Volkswagen Names Cars In China Will Screw With Your Mind

Volkswagen in China is famous for still selling the 1984 Mk.2 Jetta as the Jetta. Soon, they will be replacing the old Jetta with the new Jetta. Only VW isn't replacing the Jetta, and it's not with the Jetta, it's with the Santana, which isn't a Santana or a Jetta. Don't worry, this gets more confusing.


FAW-Volkswagen (the name of one of VW's two Chinese joint-ventures) will continue to sell the current Jetta for two years, which is a 1984 Mk.2 Jetta and the car that replaces it is called the Santana. Of course, SAIC-VW (Volkswagen's other Chinese joint-venture) still sells Santana, which is a 1981 Mk.2 Passat and its production will not stop for the new Santana. Sharing the same platform as the new Santana (destined for SAIC VW) is the new Jetta (destined for FAW VW), only none of these cars are Jettas, other than the Jetta. The new Jetta and the new Santana are four-door VW Polos, while the current Jetta is a Mk.2 Jetta.

Meanwhile, the actual new Jetta is on sale in China through SAIC VW, it's just called the Lavida. The Mk.6 Jetta is also on sale through FAW VW, it's just called the Sagitar. You can buy the new Passat in China, too. That car is called the Passat, except the old Passat is also on sale as the Passat.

Illustration for article titled How Volkswagen Names Cars In China Will Screw With Your Mind

FAW-VW is also getting ready to sell the new Bora, which is what they used to call a Jetta in the rest of the world. This car, naturally, is not a new Jetta, but a facelifted Mk.5 Jetta. Actually, it is a facelifted facelifted facelifted Mk.5. Yes, the upcoming Bora is the facelifted version of the 2010 facelift of the 2008 Bora, which was a facelifted version of the 2005 Mk.5 Jetta, which was known internationally as the Bora.

Interestingly, from 2008 to 2010 FAW-VW continued to sell the Bora while they sold the Bora, the first Bora being a Mk.4 Jetta/Bora and sometimes a Mk.4 Golf (but was not called a Golf, because FAW-VW was already selling a different Golf and the VW Gol at the same time) and the new Bora being the facelifted Mk.5 Jetta/Bora. That's all in the past, though, since production of the old old Bora stopped in 2010 so that FAW-VW could continue to sell the facelifted version of the 2010 Bora, which wasn't the Bora they stopped making in 2010, but the one they started selling in 2008, which was a facelifted 2005 Bora.


In summary, Volkswagen will still sell the Jetta and the Santana, which are/are not being replaced by the Santana and the Jetta, neither of which is a Jetta, because the Jetta is the Lavida and the Sagitar and also still the Jetta. Got it? Good.

Photo Credit: FAW-VW


Raphael Orlove

If you know whether or not either of VW's Chinese joint ventures will continue to sell the unadulterated Santana B2 (as opposed to the Santana Vista), please let us know. I have been personally unable to find any specific reference to that vehicle being continued past 2012, and while I believe it was on the market through this year, I have been unable to pin down any pictures of the car in a dealership.

It blows my mind how little I know about the world's largest car market, and how difficult it is to get my hands on reliable information about what goes on there. I don't mean to say that China's car market is shady or unlawfully hiding anything, I just mean to say that there's so much work to be done in making China's carmakers understandable beyond a few reports about Buicks or Audis selling well and whatever new copycat copyright violation is funniest. Honestly, my brain is just goop right now having tried to untangle this VW in China knot. It shouldn't be this hard to figure out what cars you can buy from a major manufacturer.