Volkswagen's budget brand set for China

VW company bosses confirm new Dacia-style range due in 2019, with target price of less than £8,100

Volkwagen logo

Volkswagen’s on-off budget brand will launch in China in 2019, company bosses have confirmed to Auto Express.

Finally fast-tracked after years of being moved around Volkswagen’s priority list, the still-unnamed brand will make its debut with a small saloon and a mid-sized SUV, but will only be sold in China in its initial stages.

The aim is for the new marque to add to Volkswagen’s 2.99 million 2016 sales in China, and after a settling-in period there target Mexico, Brazil and even India. While Volkswagen insists it has no plans for the brand outside emerging markets, that’s also what Renault said about Dacia, its budget offering, during its early years.

A senior Volkswagen official has also confirmed that the brand, which has set Great Wall’s Haval brand as a Chinese sales and quality benchmark, is aiming for a price of less than 70,000 RMB (£8,100).

It will be built in partnership with VW’s Chinese joint-venture partner, FAW, using the PQ chassis architecture of the old Golf Mk6, production of which ended in 2013.

“The budget car is still under development. Even more right now,” Volkswagen development boss Dr Frank Welsch confirmed. “Two years ago the car you heard about was a sedan.

“We changed this strategy early last year, because in China the market research was quite easy to see that when we need a budget car, we also need a budget SUV.

“If we had added one SUV, then it’s quite easy to have two versions of that if we change the wheelbase and add a third seating row,” Dr Welsch added. “We have to keep in mind that the economy segment will be a strong segment not only in China.”

While the Volkswagen Group’s MQB architecture is becoming ubiquitous for small to medium-sized SEATs, Skodas, Audis and VWs, it plans to follow Renault’s Dacia strategy of using superseded underpinnings to keep costs low.

Volkswagen is working to deliver the initial two-model range using the PQ architecture, proving the brand will be based on a front-wheel-drive strategy. The SUV would feature a hang-on all-wheel-drive system. “It won’t be off MQB,” Dr Welsch admitted. “The brand will use some MQB components, but not the MQB architecture. If you compare this to Dacia and what it is doing, that’s more like it.”

The VW Group’s Chinese operation has also been immune from any Dieselgate emissions-cheating fallout, because the Chinese don’t tend to buy diesel passenger vehicles, and the new budget brand will be petrol-powered. “In certain parts of the world, we will need such economy cars, and in China 40 per cent already is with economy cars,” Welsch told us.

Would you be interested in VW's budget brand if it came to the UK? Let us know below...

Recommended

Volkswagen ID. models to get over-the-air software updates
Volkswagen ID.3
Volkswagen

Volkswagen ID. models to get over-the-air software updates

Volkswagen shifts towards a software-based business model, with improved safety and additional features enabled through updates
13 Sep 2021
2023 Volkswagen Aero B: new electric Passat equivalent spied
Volkswagen Aero B - front
Volkswagen

2023 Volkswagen Aero B: new electric Passat equivalent spied

Volkswagen will soon make its ID.Vizzion concept a reality, which could become the longest-range MEB model in the firm’s electric line-up
10 Sep 2021
New Volkswagen ID. Life wows at Munich Motor Show
Volkswagen ID Life - Munich front
Volkswagen

New Volkswagen ID. Life wows at Munich Motor Show

The new Volkswagen ID. Life concept previews a future affordable electric car that will sit below the ID.3 in the brand's line-up
7 Sep 2021
New Volkswagen ID.2 to kick-start brand’s push into small electric cars
Volkswagen ID.2 - front (watermarked)
Volkswagen

New Volkswagen ID.2 to kick-start brand’s push into small electric cars

The new Volkswagen ID.2 baby electric SUV will be part of an extended ID. line-up, and our exclusive images preview how it could look
6 Aug 2021

Most Popular

New Kia EV6 2021 review
Kia EV6 front tracking
Kia EV6

New Kia EV6 2021 review

With a sporty drive, 300-plus miles of range and plenty of tech - could the new Kia EV6 be one of the best electric cars on sale?
19 Oct 2021
Cupra Born vs Mercedes EQA vs Volvo C40 Recharge: 2021 group test review
Cupra Born vs Mercedes EQA vs Volvo C40 Recharge
Car group tests

Cupra Born vs Mercedes EQA vs Volvo C40 Recharge: 2021 group test review

The all-electric Volvo C40 Recharge meets another premium wannabe in the Cupra Born. But can they beat the super-posh new Mercedes EQA?
19 Oct 2021
New Ford Mustang Mach-E GT 2021 review
Ford Mustang Mach-E GT - front
Ford Mustang Mach-E

New Ford Mustang Mach-E GT 2021 review

With 480bhp and a 310-mile range, does the new Ford Mustang Mach-E GT offers the perfect blend of performance and practicality? We find out...
19 Oct 2021