The Santana may be a new name in the Philippines, but it has been one of Volkswagen's longest-running models in China. How long? It's has been on sale in China since 1983, making it one of the most popular Volkswagen nameplates in the region. By the 1990s it has become a household name, helping the company sell over 6 million units.
But it seems the automaker will be bidding farewell to the Santana in the near future.
According to a report by Reuters citing government documents, SAIC, one of Volkswagen's joint ventures in China, will end production of the Santana together with the Skoda Rapid and a current version of the Tharu SUV at its plant in Yizheng. At the moment, the plant in Yinzheng is the main factory that builds the Santana and is capable of manufacturing 224,400 units a year.
Volkswagen has yet to officially announce the news. However, the automaker did tell Reuters that changing consumer preferences promoted the change in plans. From sedans, the market is now leaning towards crossovers, SUVs, and even battery electric vehicles.
The report adds that instead of the Santana, Volkswagen's Yizheng plant will make the T-Cross and facelifted Tharu crossovers. Aside from the crossovers, the facility will also build the Polo hatchback and Lamando sedans. The arrangements are expected to be completed by 2023.
What does it mean for Volkswagen Philippines? The automaker brought the Santana in 2018 together with other China-built models. Recently, it even underwent a minor refresh featuring new tech. But if the model is set to be axed in the coming years, the company might have to replace it with another model.