The Truth About Cars » . Santana The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Wed, 16 Jul 2014 04:01:57 +0000 en-US hourly 1 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars » . Santana Volkswagen Launches The New Santana Tue, 30 Oct 2012 13:15:06 +0000

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.

Weltpremierenfeier des neuen Santana fuer den chinesischen Markt am 29.10.2012 in Wolfsburg. Weltpremierenfeier des neuen Santana fuer den chinesischen Markt am 29.10.2012 in Wolfsburg. Der neue Volkswagen Satana (China) Der neue Volkswagen Satana (China) Der neue Volkswagen Satana (China) Der neue Volkswagen Satana (China) Der neue Volkswagen Satana (China) Zemanta Related Posts Thumbnail


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PQ24 Or PQ25? Oriental Santana Mystery Disturbs Brazil Sun, 19 Aug 2012 14:48:17 +0000

Brazil was once VW’s home away from home. Here, it felt loved and welcome. It controlled 50 percent of the market. Time passed. An Italian upstart arrived and eventually robbed it of first place by being more agile. VW meanwhile grew bigger appetites and found a new home in China.  Brazil, the ex-favorite, the dark, mysterious, tropical, big bosomed former love affair relies on the crumbs that fall off the table of the slanted-eye enchantress.

Bertel Schmitt broke the news. He revealed that the Santana, Volkswagen’s engagement present for the Chinese lover, will find its way into homes all over lands south of the Rio Grande. It could eventually vie for the attention of those who live in the better-off portions of the Americas. Why not? Nissan’s Versa has proven that Americans are game. The VW Santana is nothing more than VW’s take on that car. A car that occupies a segment that is growing the world over. The B-segment sized car sold at A-segment sized prices. Right here on TTAC, I’ve covered more than a few of those cars. VW’s Santana will follow the trail blazed by Chevy’s Cobalt, Renault’s Logan, Nissan’s Versa, Peugeot’s 301 and even Fiat’s Grand Siena (another pretender for a place in Americans’ heart), not to mention the Toyota Etios, extensively and expertly covered by our own Bertel Schmitt.

According to reports on Brazilian enthusiast sites and, the car doesn’t quite follow the recipe first conceived by the Franco-Romanian collaboration of Renault-Dacia. Differently from Renault, Nissan, Fiat, Toyota and Chevrolet (which used their all new global small car platforms in a dedicated way to produce really brand-new spanking cars), the VW Santana sits on a time-tested (and by now fully amortized) PQ24 platform. Incontrast to Bertel’s report, Brazilian websites say that this and not the more modern PQ25 will be used. I tried to clear this up at VW Brasil. The nice folks there were not talking. In fact, they denied the car is even coming. Veteran VW do Brasil watchers, however, point out that when Volkswagen in Brazil denies something, it means it’s true. Time will tell then.

Stretching out the PQ24 platform, the new car is bigger than the Polo Sedan and smaller than the Jetta. It measures 4.47 m (14.67 ft.) in length, 1.71 m (5.61 ft.) in width, is 1.47 m (4.82 ft.) tall and, more importantly, has a wheelbase of 2.6 (8.53 ft.) m. In this case, VW closely follows the script written by earlier entrants into this segment. VW has also followed the unofficial class rules and has chosen to provide an uninspired design that helps keep production costs low. Inside, hard plastics and skimpy instrumentation alongside chrome bits that show potential buyers that it’s a cut above the lowly hatchbacks that dominate the base echelons of Third World markets.

To be launched at the Guangzhou Salon in China this year, in that country it will sold as of December. The Santana will come with 1.4 and 1.6 engines and a mechanical transmission with 5 gears or an auto with 6. In Brazil, rumors have it that it’ll make use of the locally made 1.6 and the Jurassic 2.0 offered on lowlier Jettas. Gearboxes will be the same mechanical 5-speed, though the 2.0 could come mated to a full 6-speed auto. Automated transmissions should also be available.

Guaranteed to create confusion, the car could either be called Santana or Jetta, depending on the market. In Brazil, VW will go with Santana and sales should start in the second half of 2013. As this car will kill the Polo and be placed below the Mexican-built Jetta, VW reasons that by using this hallowed name, it will be easier to convince Brazilians to part with their money. If you feel that this a cheap shot that only the most obtuse will not see through, I won’t argue.

In short, a car built to a price point. Using proven and cheap mechanicals while offering space for families looking for room or some degree of prestige for those who want to be seen as a step ahead of those in their A-segment hatches and sedans. A sure hit.

[Editor’s note: The news that both the new Chinese Jetta and the new Chinese Santana will be based on Volkswagen’s latest A0 Quer Platform A05, a.k.a. PQ25, and not on the previous gen A04/PQ24 version, was not broken by Bertel Schmitt. Carnewschina had it from Autocar The Brits allegedly test drove the new Jetta and wrote that both the new Chinese Jetta and the new Chinese Santana “are underpinned by a heavily reworked version of the Polo’s PQ25 platform with a more rugged torsion beam rear axle to cope with China’s unique road conditions.

As Marcelo said, time will tell whether British Autocar or Brazilian Bestcar is right. Honest to Buddha, I have no idea what of the story is true, and I know better than to ask Volkswagen what platform a car will be built on when it hasn’t been announced yet. All I know is that China’s Gasgoo wrote two weeks ago:

“Shanghai VW's new Santana and FAW-VW's new Jetta, respectively codenamed VW253 and VW253-2, are already in the works. Despite the fact that they are being designed separately, they will both share the PQ25 platform, which is currently used in the VW Polo and Skoda Fabia.”

But then, what does Gasgoo know. They also write  that “the original Santana was the first model Shanghai VW imported from Brazil.” Humbug. The first Shanghai Santanas were built from CKD kits shipped from Germany, soon thereafter, everything was built locally.

PQ24 or PQ25 does not matter anyway. Either would be a vast improvement over the previous platforms that were born when yours truly was a budding copywriter. And that was a long, long time ago.

The current Chinese Santana is based on the old, 1970s style B2 platform, which was basically the same as that of the old Audi 80/4000. The Santana was reworked several times.

The current Chinese Jetta is based on Volkswagen’s likewise antique A2 platform. Think back to the disco age and Golf Mk2, and you are right there.  Generation Why: That was before your parents had sex.

Both Jetta and Santana led the seller lists in China well into the new millennium, giving SAIC and FAW little incentive to spend the money on something new. Most of Shanghai’s taxi fleet is still Santana-based. Beijing’s taxi fleet was an ocean of Jettas, until they were washed-out by a flood of Beijing-built Hyundais.]

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Cultural Revolution! China Gets New Santana And New Jetta! Brazil Next? Fri, 17 Aug 2012 13:18:43 +0000 Some thirty years later, China will finally get a new Santana. Here it is, brought to you by our friends at Carnewschina. In case it looks familiar, Carnewschina tells us that the new Santana is basically the new Jetta. The current models, holdovers from the stone age, finally can go to the junkyard of history.

Both cars are sitting on a stretched  Polo PQ25 platform (see Skoda Rapid and Seat Toledo.) Like the old Jetta of lore, the new Jetta will be made by FAW-Volkswagen. The new Santana will be made, like the current Santana, by Shanghai-Volkswagen. Both cars are expected to be powered by a 1.4 liter or 1.6 liter engine, stick or auto.

Supposedly, the Chinese press is complaining that the two look too much alike.  Whiners.

PS:  Our special Southern Cone Correspondent Marcelo telegraphs that the Santana (so far only) will be coming to Brazil, and possibly Mexico. Someone is making good use of the tooling. Or not: Marcelo says the Brazilian version is based on the PQ24. Probably Con-Fu-Zion. We are waiting, Marcelo.

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Tycho’s Illustrated History Of Chinese Cars: The Volkswagen Santana China Retrospective Mon, 16 Jan 2012 17:43:23 +0000 Volkswagen announced an all-new Santana for the Chinese market, it will debut in 2013. Time to say “zai jian” (“good bye,” but nobody says that anymore in China, they say “bye bye”) to the current Santana, made by the Shanghai-Volkswagen joint venture since 1985. And time for a short history of the Santana. History saw the original Santana, the Santana Variant, the Santana 2000, the Santana 3000 and the Santana Vista. We take a look at all of them. On the picture above is a party in Shanghai when the very first China-made Santana rolls off the assembly line. And when they said “party” in 1985, they meant it. Serious partiers they were.

This is the original Shanghai-Volkswagen Santana, based on the German Santana, which was based on German Volkswagen Passat B2 and/or the Audi 80 B2. Production started in 1985. First engine was a 1.6 with 87hp. In 1987 Volkswagen added a 1.8 with 94hp. The 1.6 however continued all the way until 2006. Size: 4546/1690/1427mm, wheelbase is 2548mm.

The original Santana is still on the market today, powered by the 1.8. Its price starts around 50.000 yuan, or $8,000. Sales are still good, Shanghai-Volkswagen made some 70.000 in 2011. That indeed is 26 years of the Passat Santana sedan in China, but in the meantime a lot more Santana happened:

Production of the Santana Variant started in 1987 and was immediately popular with police and all other kinds of government services. The Variant was powered by the 1.8. The Santana sedan did also fine with the government, but the biggest buyers were taxi fleets.

Next up was the Shanghai-Volkswagen Santana 2000. Not based on the original Santana but on the Brazilian-build Volkswagen do Brasil Santana 2000(which again was….) Production started in 1995. The China-made Santana had a slightly longer wheelbase and longer rear-doors.

Power came from the 1.8 which now delivered 97hp. Size: 4680/1700/1423mm, wheelbase was 2656mm. The Santana 2000 was not a replacement for the Santana, it was an addition. The Santana 2000 was seen as a slightly bigger and more luxurious Santana. Price started around some 90.000 yuan.

The Shanghai-Volkswagen Santana 3000 arrived in 2004, succeeding the Santana 2000. The redesign was done not by Volkswagen in Germany but, for the first time, by the Shanghai-Volkswagen joint venture itself.

Lots of fake wood in the dash. Fake wood indeed was very much the fashion in those years, all China-made cars had forests of fake wood. Nowadays, the fake-wood has mostly been cleared. The Santana 2000 also received a new engine, a 2.0 with 107hp. The 1.8 continued.

The Santana 2000 proved to be short-lived because its replacement, the Santana Vista, arrived in 2008. Design was again done by the Shanghai-Volkswagen joint venture.

Power came from the 1.8, the 2.0 and… the original 1.6. Yes, Volkswagen brought is back from the museum to create the entry-level Santana 3000. The Santana Vista (Zhijun in Chinese) is still on the market today. Price starts at 58.900 yuan and ends at 79.800 yuan.

The dash was toned down a bit, now in 1990′s Wolfsburg lo-fi design.

Altogether some 3.5 million Santana, 2000, 3000 and Vista have been made in China since production started in 1985. Many of the early cars are still on the road. The Santana earned Volkswagen a strong reputation as a maker of reliable no-frills automobiles. The new Santana will be judged harshly by Chinese media and car buyers alike, let’s hope it is good enough the carry the Santana-badge. Debut likely at the 2013 Shanghai Auto Show.

Dutchman Tycho de Feyter runs, a blog about cars in China, from Beijing, China. He also collects die-cast models of Chinese cars.


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China Gets A Few New Passats – And Keeps The Old Ones Wed, 04 May 2011 10:36:43 +0000

China is getting a double dose of Volkswagen Passat. The new generation B7 Passat will hit China’s streets in a longer wheelbase version, to provide legroom for the boss in the back while the driver up front braves the crazy Chinese traffic. Just like the previous-gen B6, the car will be built by Volkswagen’s northern joint venture with FAW and will be sold under the Magotan name. “Passat” was already taken by Volkswagen’s southern joint venture, more on that below.

First pictures of the not quite 4 inch (100 mm) longer wheelbase (why do they even bother?) Magotan appeared today in CarNewsChina. The car will be powered by 1.4 TSI, 1.8 TSI and 2.0 TSI engines, mated to a DSG transmission. Price and launch date will be announced next month.

Meanwhile in Shanghai, Volkswagen’s joint venture with SAIC will (not quite, see below) replace its long-in-the-tooth B5 Passat with the American Chattanooga Passat, the artist formerly known as NMS. The New Passat has been shown at the Shanghai Auto Show. It shares two engines (1.8TSI, 2.0TSI) with the Magotan, and adds a 3.0 Liter V6. It costs between 218,800 Yuan ($33,500) and 310,800 Yuan ($47,600). The times of the cheap Passat in China are clearly over. The New Passat has a 2803mm wheelbase, only marginally shorter than the “long” Magotan B7L which has a 2812mm wheelbase.

In the “why throw away a perfectly good platform” department, the 5th generation Passat B5 will live on as the facelifted Passat Lingyu, also made by the joint venture with SAIC.

None of the newer Passats break any sales records. In March, the Passat Lingyu stood at rank 31 with 10,111 units sold. The Magotan (B6) was at rank 57 with 6,349 units sold. Meanwhile, the Santana, derived from the second gen Passat B2, held rank 4 with 19,683 units sold. The top spot had the FAW Xiali N3/N5, which has its roots in a 2nd gen Daihatsu Charade.

While people in the U.S. and Europe drive around in 20 year old cars, China builds them.



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