AutosJetta arrives in Russia amid controversy over unofficial imports

Jetta arrives in Russia amid controversy over unofficial imports

Jetta VS5
Jetta VS5
Images source: © Press materials | Volkswagen AG
Mateusz Lubczański

9 July 2024 17:19

The Jetta brand, owned by the Chinese joint venture FAW and Volkswagen, has officially appeared in Russia, reports "Rossijskaya Gazeta." The headquarters in Wolfsburg state that this is completely untrue.

The new importer is FAW-Eastern Europe, boasts a network of 86 dealers, and operates in 50 cities across Russia, reports citing "AutoBusinessReview." As reported in April this year, the Volkswagen Group knew that vehicles from joint venture companies could enter Russia through "unauthorized channels." More about the entire process can be read below.

Unauthorised channels meant that the official importer was not involved. The cars reached Russia from Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, China, and Finland. The scale of this phenomenon is challenging to estimate, though it is widely known to be significant.

Earlier, we reported that in January, Nie Qiang, deputy general manager of FAW-Volkswagen for commercial affairs, announced that "with the formal consent of both shareholders, Jetta has been authorised to export new cars."

The FAW Group informed the service there were no concerns regarding sanctions. The owner of the rights is the Chinese side. "We are talking about a completely independent brand whose products cannot be compared with the cars of the German partner."

I contacted a representative of the Volkswagen brand to confirm this information. The headquarters in Wolfsburg states that:

The Jetta brand was created in 2019 to sell inexpensive Volkswagen models in China. As a foreign entity, VW could not manufacture in China, hence the joint venture with the Chinese FAW.

An example model, the Jetta VA3, is similar to the Volkswagen Polo but only has a partially galvanised body. It is a product tailored to the Chinese customer: it does not have heated seats in any configuration, nor does the backrest of the rear bench fold. A difficulty with "grey" Jettas was untranslated multimedia systems. Under the bonnet, we have an engine from the German EA111 family.

According to a local news service from Chelyabinsk, Russia, the brand's official appearance in Russia is a formality. Dealers are not to pursue aggressive policies due to sanctions and are also to try to avoid associations with Volkswagen. Clients are to learn about the brand through word of mouth.

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