Think the sedan body style is dying out? Well, not according to Volkswagen, which says “compact notchback models” account for almost one third of its deliveries worldwide. Of course, it sells stacks of sedans in China, where the Wolfsburg-based firm offers as many as six models.
In markets such as South Africa, however, demand for saloons has dipped, which has led to the German firm’s local brand discontinuing models such as the Passat and Jetta (the latter is admittedly no longer built in right-hand drive).
So, let’s take a closer look at the interesting sedans VW offers in China, conceived both through joint ventures (SAIC-Volkswagen and FAW-Volkswagen) and the firm’s Jetta sub-brand.
The Jetta nameplate is now a sub-brand (with its own dealership network) in China. The VA3 units are produced in Chengdu, each measuring 4 500 mm long and powered by a naturally aspirated 1,5-litre petrol engine offering the front axle 82 kW. VW says it is aimed “primarily at younger first-time buyers”.
FAW-Volkswagen has been building the Sagitar since 2006, with production now taking place in Changchun and Chengdu. Based on the ubiquitous MQB platform, the Sagitar is offered with either a 1,2-litre TSI engine (generating 85 kW) or a 1,4-litre TSI unit (churning out 110 kW). Since 2019, the third-generation model has been available in long-wheelbase guise.
The Lamando has been produced in China by SAIC Volkswagen since late in 2014. VW describes it as a “four-door notchback coupé” which is 1 820 mm wide and stands 1 420 mm tall. Running on the MQB architecture, the Lamando measures 4 600 mm long with 2 650 mm between its axles. Power comes from a 1,4-litre TSI petrol engine (with either 96 or 110 kW), mated to a DSG transmission. There’s also a GTS-badged model with VW’s 162 kW 2,0-litre TSI powerplant.
As many as 323 400 units of the Bora were sold in China in 2019. The MQB-based model is offered with either a naturally aspirated 1,5-litre engine (83 kW) or a 1,4-litre TSI powerplant (110 kW), while an all-electric version called the “e-Bora” is also available. The Bora measures 4 660 mm nose to tail, with a wheelbase of 2 690 mm.
SAIC Volkswagen Santana
Since 2013, the China-specific Santana has been available. It measures 4 480 mm long, 1 710 mm wide and 1 470 mm tall, with a wheelbase of 2 600 mm. As many as 245 000 units were sold in China in 2019.
SAIC Volkswagen Lavida
The third-generation Lavida has been on sale in China since May 2018. Running on the MQB platform, the Lavida was the best-selling model in China in 2019, with 491 000 units registered. Power comes from a naturally aspirated 1,5-litre petrol engine (85 kW) or a 1,4-litre TSI (110 kW), while a fully electric e-Lavida (employing the e-Golf’s powertrain) is also offered. The Lavida’s wheelbase measures 2 680 mm, while the body is 4 670 mm long, 1 810 mm wide and 1 470 mm tall.