Volkswagen To China: Have A SEAT

Bertel Schmitt
by Bertel Schmitt

When we reported Chinese rumors that Veedub might open a factory in Southern China to make up for its lack of exposure and market share down south, we wondered “which of their two Chinese joint venture partners will get the new plant.” If the latest rumors are true, all options are wide open. It might even be a new joint venture partner. According to Guangzhou Daily (via Gasgoo) Volkswagen could bring its ill-fated SEAT brand to China.

We’ll know more when VW will announce its “South Strategy” at the 2009 Guangzhou auto show next week. If they do.

Currently, Volkswagen has two joint ventures in China. FAW VW in Changchun makes Volkswagen and Audis. SVW, a joint venture with SAIC, makes Volkswagens and Skodas in Shanghai.

VW likes logic, as harebrained the logic may be. VW bought SEAT to break into the Southern European market, so VW-logic could call for using the same brand to invade China’s South. Maybe. If there wouldn’t be some disconcerting tidbits.

“The question is not whether the Seat brand will come to China, but when it will come,” said Fan Ande, CEO of Volkswagen Group China, according to Guangzhou Daily. Furthermore, the paper writes that “Seat chairman Erich Schmitt has also said that his company is planning to enter the fast-growing Chinese market and will choose coastal cities as its pilot market.” Trouble is, there is no VW CEO by the name of Fan Ande in China, his name is Winfried Vahland. Erich Schmitt had left SEAT on September 1, and was replaced by James Muir. We’ll know more next week. Or not.

Bertel Schmitt
Bertel Schmitt

Bertel Schmitt comes back to journalism after taking a 35 year break in advertising and marketing. He ran and owned advertising agencies in Duesseldorf, Germany, and New York City. Volkswagen A.G. was Bertel's most important corporate account. Schmitt's advertising and marketing career touched many corners of the industry with a special focus on automotive products and services. Since 2004, he lives in Japan and China with his wife <a href=""> Tomoko </a>. Bertel Schmitt is a founding board member of the <a href=""> Offshore Super Series </a>, an American offshore powerboat racing organization. He is co-owner of the racing team Typhoon.

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