Although the Volkswagen Quantum never became the institution in the States that its successor, the Passat has, the second-generation model, known as the Santana in China, once again proved that Volkswagen is indeed the "people's car." And now, after being built domestically through a joint-venture with Shanghai Volkswagen Automotive since 1983, word is that the venerable sedan's time is limited. According to new reports, the Santana will leave VW showrooms in 2012, meaning that the Santana will have enjoyed a model run of 29 years in China.
Oh, along the way, the car has received a number of updates (a 1986 China-built model is shown) including an enlarged engine with electronic fuel injection, a fifth speed for the manual gearbox, ABS, etc. – but in its bones, the Santana is still very much the same car that plied American roads back at the turn-of-the-Eighties. Despite China's rapidly evolving market, the elderly VW still all but rules many of the nation's roads, particularly in Shanghai, where livery versions of the Santana rival New York's Ford Crown Victoria for ubiquity.
According to TradingMarkets, fully 3.21 million Santanas have been built in China, with 2009's sales already totalling 56,012 units through April.