Yesterday, a car developed (mostly) for and (mostly) in China was presented at a gala event in Wolfsburg. Volkswagen celebrated the new Santana, and Volkswagen’s lucky entry into the Chinese market some 30 years ago. That’s also how long the old Santana lasted. It was time to replace it, and the time was yesterday.
In 1979, an unannounced Chinese government delegation showed up at Wache Sandkamp, the main gate of the Volkswagen factory in Wolfsburg. They were sent to Germany to find a joint venture. Their first stop was (then) Daimler-Benz, where they were treated with less than the expected enthusiasm.
They asked what those other cars on the road were. They were told they were Volkswagens. When the translator said it means “the peoples’ car” the faces of the Chinese lit up, and a train to Wolfsburg was boarded. At a later meeting, current and future Volkswagen were lined up in the Raederhalle in Wolfsburg, the Chinese pointed at the Santana, said “this one” and the rest was history.
The new Santana can be had with ABS, front, side and head airbags, ESC electronic stabilization, air conditioning or automatic climate control, electric sliding sunroof, alloy wheels, parking sensors and leather upholstery.
The Santana is powered by naturally-aspirated four-cylinder specimens of the newly developed EA 211 gasoline engine series. With 16-valve technology and integration of the exhaust manifold in the cylinder head, these engines deliver 28 percent better fuel economy.
The 1.4-liter version produces 90 hp, the 1.6-liter version makes 110 hp. The new Santana will be built at SAIC in Shanghai. Volkswagen did not say whether it rests on the PQ24 or PQ25 platform, guaranteeing that the topic will keep TTAC readers sleepless for years to come.