It's been five years since Volkswagen formally entered the Philippine market via the Ayala Group. Since then, Volkswagen Philippines has been active in motor shows and marketing initiatives to promote its cars.
But while we see a few VW badges on the road already, 'few' is still the operative word. The German carmaker is playing catch-up to the Japanese and Koreans. We've always wondered what Volkswagen's plan is to grow its market share and stake its claim as one of the world's auto giants. Recently we found out, and it's in the form of China-made VWs. A few months ago Volkswagen PH introduced the Santana, the Lavida, and the Tiguan—the latter now sporting a longer wheelbase.
We may not feel it here, but Volkswagen is a global powerhouse that sells 10 million vehicles a year. China is one of the countries where the Germans have a big manufacturing presence, and bringing in models from this market resulted in better pricing for local VW products.
Are they good? We may trust China to make our iPhones and clothes, but the Chinese have yet to prove themselves when it comes to building reliable cars.
After driving the Volkswagen Santana, Lavida and Tiguan for three days, we can say that the German DNA is still very much present. The Santana proved to be an especially nice surprise.
For a better look at our drive, click play on the video.