The Jetta brand will be run by the German firm in co-operation with long-time Chinese joint venture partner First Automobile Works (FAW). It will target younger buyers outside major metropolitan areas. The two companies first revealed they were planning a budget brand in 2017.
Volkswagen sales boss Jürgen Stackmann said: “With Jetta, we're closing the gap between the established Volkswagen lead brand in the top volume segment and entry-level mobility, which accounts for about one-third of the Chinese market and is served mainly by local brands. This way, we will significantly increase our market coverage."
By the end of 2019, Volkswagen plans to establish up to 200 Jetta dealerships, and it says this network will be supported by a range of sales formats, including digital showrooms, shopping malls and mobile sales trucks.
The initial Jetta line-up comprises three models, the VA3, VS5 and VS7, with sales scheduled to start in the third quarter of this year.
The 4487mm-long VA3 is a rebadged version of the current Chinese-market Jetta saloon, while the 4400mm-long VS5 and 4600mm-long VS7 are SUVs that draw heavily on the Seat Ateca and Seat Tarraco, with five and seven seats respectively.
Seat doesn't have an existing sales presence in China; the integration of the Spanish car maker’s models into the Jetta line-up is expected to profit from greater economies of scale.
A VS3 compact SUV based on the Seat Arona has been muted as a possible future addition to the Jetta range.
Stackmann added: “In China, the Jetta plays an extremely valuable role for us as a Volkswagen model. It has brought mobility for the masses, just like the Beetle once did in Europe. Developed by Volkswagen and built in China, the Jetta placed China on four wheels.