Secret Recipe Revealed: How FAW Gets A Tiguan Without SAIC Losing Face

Bertel Schmitt
by Bertel Schmitt

SUVs are hot in China, and VW’s SUVlet, the Tiguan has turned into a hot seller. In the last few months, it steadily worked itself up the SUV charts and was in the second position in July, behind the Honda CR-V, and before the Nissan Qashqai. In China, the Tiguan is made by Volkswagen’s southern joint venture with Shanghai Volkswagen. What to do when Volkswagen’s Northern joint venture with FAW develops offroadish desires?

China Car Times heard around the hot water dispenser (they like to drink hot water in China, yuck, I know) that First Automobile Works has signaled its wishes that Volkswagen should go off-road with them. Volkswagen can hardly give them the Tiguan as well. That would be taking socialism too far. So what’s Volkswagen to do?

Best-selling SUVs, China, July 2011RankModelBrandUnits1CR-VHonda12,7062TiguanVW11,4573QashqaiNissan10,5424HighlanderToyota8,8175Haval H seriesGreat Wall8,3946TiggoChery8,2957ix35Hyundai8,1398RAV4Toyota7,18995008/Nomad IIZotye6,97110Sportage RKia5,462Source: CAAM

According to (British born) Ash Sutcliffe of China Car Times, “FAW are working with VW to produce their own self designed VW SUV on top of the Tiguan platform.”

Now Ash, Volkswagen would NEVER do that and cheat their Shanghainese partners. Let me show you how this works at Volkswagen: Everybody knows that the Audi Q3 is coming to China next year, right? The car, unveiled at the Shanghai Motorshow with yours truly snapping away and Ash without camera, will be made by Audi’s JV partner – FAW.

The Tiguan and the Q3 are based on the current Golf platform. (NOT MQB as erroneously stated on occasion.) Being an Audi, the Q3 will be built by FAW. FAW also makes the Golf. The Tiguan and Q3 are based on – the Golf. Now if that rumor is true, Volkswagen would never ever help FAW to build an SUV on top of the Tiguan platform. That would break the contract and good form.

They’ll help them build an SUV on the Golf platform! What’s wrong with that? It could even look a bit like the Q3. I mean, all these SUVlets look alike anyway, right? Especially in China. Everybody keeps face, everybody happy. Now, where’s the next KTV?

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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  • Eldard Eldard on Aug 21, 2011

    I have friend who used to like drinking just water and sugar.

  • MrWhopee MrWhopee on Aug 22, 2011

    I thought that drinking warm water has some thing to do with ancient belief that it's better for your health. Drinking cold water will upset your body's balance (yin/yang) and such.

  • James Hendricks The depreciation on the Turbo S is going to be epic!
  • VoGhost Key phrase: "The EV market has grown." Yup, EV sales are up yet again, contrary to what nearly every article on the topic has been claiming. It's almost as if the press gets 30% of ad revenues from oil companies and legacy ICE OEMs.
  • Leonard Ostrander Daniel J, you are making the assertion. It's up to you to produce the evidence.
  • VoGhost I remember all those years when the brilliant TTAC commenters told me over and over how easy it was for legacy automakers to switch to making EVs, and that Tesla was due to be crushed by them in just a few months.
  • D "smaller vehicles" - sorry, that's way too much common sense! Americans won't go along because clever marketing convinced us our egos need big@ss trucks, which give auto manufacturers the profit margin they want, and everybody feels vulnerable now unless they too have a huge vehicle. Lower speed limits could help, but no politician wants to push that losing policy. We'll just go on building more lanes and driving faster and faster behind our vehicle's tinted privacy glass. Visions of Slim Pickens riding a big black jacked up truck out of a B-52.