By Ronan Glon
Monday, Nov 21st, 2011 @ 11:39 am
 
Volkswagen's massive expansion plans for 2018 involves increased sales on the growing Chinese market. They are already present there and sell almost thirty different models, including a revamped version of the second-generation Jetta.

Skoda has recently been gaining a foothold in China thanks largely to the Superb sedan and they plan on introducing more, locally-built models in the next couple of years. Audis are also popular there, especially the long-wheelbase version of the A6, the A6 L.

The last of the mainstream Volkswagen brands to enter the Chinese market is SEAT. This week they are attending the Guangzhou Auto Show in southern China taking advantage of the occasion to reveal their local expansion plan.

The biggest part of the plan involves the opening of the first fifteen SEAT dealers in China. Agreements have already been signed for twelve of them. The remaining three are in the final stages of negotiations and SEAT says that deals will be finalized in the next few weeks.

James Muir, the Chairman of SEAT's Executive Committee, said that SEAT's "overarching aim is to be present in the country's most important cities; at a later stage we want to expand the network until we cover all the most important urban areas of the country".

The first cities to get SEAT dealers will be Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen, Wuhan, Chengdu, and Chongquing. The construction of the Beijing dealership has already started.

SEAT's European lineup consists of five models (not counting station wagon versions) but only the Ibiza and the Leon will make it to China next year.

The Spanish automaker has not commented on which engines will be offered, but considering that Chinese consumers generally don't like diesels in passenger cars, it is likely that only gasoline engines will make the trip.