Just a few days ago, Volkswagen launched an all-out new car assault on to the Philippine market. Not one, not two, but five models were unveiled as Volkswagen Philippines restructures a majority of their vehicle lineup. It's a particularly significant moment for the German automaker as it is the first time China-built models will be sold outside the Mainland.
The new models will be competing in the B and C-segment, as well as the vital crossover market. The B-segment entries are the Santana and Santana GTS, which holds the distinction of being the country's only station wagon in its class. Volkswagen Philippines takes a two-pronged approach in the C-Segment as well with the Lavida and Lamando. Lastly, Volkswagen Philippines will be selling previous-gen Tiguan for the local market, albeit in a longer wheelbase.
According to Volkswagen Philippines Chief Operating Advisor Klaus Schadewald the discontinuation of these model nameplates is part of a global strategy from Volkswagen. With the tax breaks from China-made models, it means that Volkswagen can offer similar models at very competitive prices.
The Santana range replaces the Polo Notch and Hatch while the Lavida takes over the Jetta's role. Despite being smaller, the Lamando indirectly replaces the Passat as their upscale sedan. Only the European Tiguan will remain; it will be sold alongside the China-made LWB Tiguan.
So what model Volkswagen Philippines will get from Europe? That would be the Golf GTI but there is a catch. From this point onwards, the high-performance Golf will only be available on order basis. So yes, you can still get your hands on one of the pioneering hot hatches, although you might have to wait a little longer for it.
As mentioned earlier, the launch of these is a milestone not just for the Philippines but for the entire Volkswagen Auto Group. “The plan to expand into exports is another pioneering effort for Volkswagen Group China. It represents the next step in the ongoing expansion and development of our Joint Ventures and underscores the fact that their products can compete internationally,” said Weiming Soh, executive vice president of Volkswagen Group China. Volkswagen has signed separate Memorandum of Understanding with its joint ventures to introduce models which have proved popular in China to the rest of the ASEAN region. The Philippines holds the distinction of being the pilot market for the bold, new strategy.