• May 18, 2009
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.

[Source: TradingMarkets]


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  • 32 Comments
      • 5 Years Ago
      Volkswagen shouldn't allow themselves to make these completely outdated models nowadays. Even if it makes sense, it taints VW's overall image, compared to Audi, BMW and mercedes (altough mercedes still has the awful old G, but at least that is an expensive model).
      • 5 Years Ago
      There's something cool about old cars which end up running forever. Its hard to explain, but I find it cool. I guess its the durability and versatility about these vehicles which I find appealing, because you can run them ragged for God knows how long and they keep going. Plus their greater simplicity in function and design make them stand out in comparison to today's camrys and accords.
        • 5 Years Ago
        +1, now I understand my attachment to my 96 Civic DX with 214K miles. The thing has crank windows, manual locks and only a radio for entertainment. It does have an auto (booooo!) and AC! I have made it my business car and I pile a lot of miles on it being an account exec. The thing has been tough and trouble free with by the book maintenance.
      • 5 Years Ago
      They're not good in this day and age, and their presence on the streets of China makes the traffic around you seem like it's 1990 but they're so ubiquitous that it's going to be the end of an era when they finally retire this. There's so many of them in Shanghai, and they look almost identical regardless of vintage that you cat hardly tell if someone is driving a beaten up VW or a 1980's VW. Also interesting that I don't recall a difference between riding one in the mid 90's and riding in them last year. And anybody's who's hailed one of these as a cab can probably attest to the rather rickety nature of 99% of Santana taxis.
      But the above comments a lot of people still like the car, no wonder it's done nearly 30 years.
      • 5 Years Ago
      i would want one... they look cool and better then todays pretty cars... i want real bumpers no some covers...
      • 5 Years Ago
      My family had a 1983 VW Quantum GL wagon (purchased new) when I was growing up and we drove all around the country in that thing - it had a 1.7L 74hp engine with a 3spd auto! Extremely slow but I remember the seats being very comfortable. I drove it through high school then passed it onto my brother who basically drove it to the ground. I still remember the sad day when it was towed away by the charity we donated the car to, and even though it wasn't a reliable car (everything that could leak seemingly did) I will recall it fondly.
      • 5 Years Ago
      if vw bring this china built model to north america and sell it for under 10k, that would top the selling chart like it did in china. this model could long live for another 30 years! thats a real vw car of all people!
      • 5 Years Ago
      @jason_870621 Chill man! I know this car is not coming to America, but my point was others from China are, with bow ties attached. All with your taxpaying money.
      • 5 Years Ago
      This is the best Santana version. I dream in having a Santana EX (Executive) model :)
      • 5 Years Ago
      I've had to ride in these taxi death traps more than once while in China.

      Good riddance.
      • 5 Years Ago
      definitely much more reliable than early 2000 VW's those jettas and passats were notoriously unreliable.
      • 5 Years Ago
      here in Brazil it was sold until 2003 on an improvised updated version. One of the toughtest cars ever made and for that very common as taxi and police cars. I have one myself: 2000 1.8 model with 170.000kms and still running strong.
        • 5 Years Ago
        @john


        I dont think I got exacly what you said, but the Civic, Camry, Accord and Corola are indeed though cars. But keep in mind that in Brazil, imports were only oficialy here since the mid 90´s, and with almost 60% import tax, these "luxury" cars are not realy afordable to everyone, making good'ol VWs the most common choice for people around here.
        • 5 Years Ago
        the world's Honda Civic I have never heard of until now?
      • 5 Years Ago
      in argentina this car was know to be a VW Gol.
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