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Volkswagen PH unleashes 5-model launch barrage

Say hello to Santana, Santana GTS, Lamando, Lavida and Tiguan

It's not every day we see one carmaker launching five new vehicles all at once. PHOTO BY MANSKEE NASCIMENTO

Despite having faced a major fiasco in recent times, Volkswagen’s global growth has been consistently rising, especially on the Asian continent. And now, with its astounding success in the extremely competitive Chinese market, the German automaker—through local distributor Ayala Corporation—has launched in the Philippines a total of five vehicles all assembled in and sourced from the People’s Republic of China. These models have been tailor-made to suit the mobility needs and demanding lifestyles of Asians, according to Shanghai Volkswagen first vice president David Powels.

With the Philippines as the initial target market for expansion in the Southeast Asian region, more Filipinos from varied walks of life can now experience this heritage car company. Backed by German engineering and strong after-sales support, the new product lineup promises to deliver improved efficiency, comfort and versatility, and live up to the slogan “Your drive just got better.”

This new Tiguan is an improved version. PHOTO BY MANSKEE NASCIMENTO

First on the list is the popular crossover, the Tiguan. The new version sports a 1.4-liter Turbocharged Stratified Injection (TSI) gasoline engine with BlueMotion technology mated to a six-speed Direct Shift Gearbox (DSG). This powerplant produces 148hp and 250Nm. The Tiguan now has a slightly longer wheelbase and an array of niceties like Vienna leather seats, dual-zone air-conditioning and an eight-speaker audio system. The new model, which Volkswagen claims is the segment leader in China with 330,000 sold units last year, is priced at P1,648,000.

The Lamando will arrive in November. PHOTO BY MANSKEE NASCIMENTO

Next is the Lamando, a sporty and sophisticated compact sedan that carries the same motor as the Tiguan but with a seven-speed DSG. Units will be available in November, and pricing is still up in the air.

The Santana GTS is a subcompact wagon that's also coming later this year. PHOTOS BY MANSKEE NASCIMENTO

Another new model that will arrive at showrooms in November is the Santana GTS. Those looking for a practical and functional subcompact wagon might want to hold off on their new-car purchase and add this to their short list. Propelled by a 1.5-liter Multi-Point Injection (MPI) petrol engine paired with a six-speed automatic transmission, the car boasts features that Filipino families will appreciate. Pricing has yet to be announced.

The Lavida is also a compact sedan but is more accessible than the Lamando. PHOTO BY MANSKEE NASCIMENTO

The fourth model is the Lavida, which Volkswagen says is the best-selling sedan and second-best-selling vehicle in China, having sold a total of 450,000 units in that market last year. It’s equipped with a 1.4-liter TSI mill and a seven-speed DSG, a combo that serves up 128hp and 225Nm. This compact sedan goes for P1,171,000.

The Santana is a subcompact sedan whose price will attract much interest. PHOTOS BY MANSKEE NASCIMENTO

The last but most significant member of the group is the Santana, driven onstage by none other than Ayala Corporation president and COO Fernando Zobel de Ayala. The little VW is ready to join the domestic subcompact-sedan wars with a surprisingly affordable price of P686,000. German prestige has never been this attainable since the introduction of the original Beetle.

At the heart of the Santana is a 1.4-liter four-cylinder MPI gasoline engine mated to a five-speed manual shifter and rated at 89hp and 132Nm. Given its modest price, this model looks and feels loaded with great value, and may well be the next “People’s Car.”

These dudes' possible thought bubble: "Hah! We're going to sell a lot of cars!" PHOTO BY MANSKEE NASCIMENTO

These new Volkswagen products are backed by a three-year/100,000km general warranty, inclusive of paint and anti-corrosion guarantee for the main steel-body structure. Preventive maintenance service is still at convenient intervals of 10,000km or 12 months, whichever comes first.

As you read this, the Tiguan, the Lavida and the Santana are already available at Volkswagen dealerships. Have fun shopping.

Manskee Nascimento

Manskee is a music-loving petrolhead who specializes in car care. He finds peace in long drives to and from his home in La Union.