1990s / 2000s / Chinese / Driven daily / German / Volkswagen

Driven daily: Volkswagen Santana GLi

.volkswagen-santana-gli-1The per-capita income in China has been steadily rising over the past couple of years and a sizable middle class with a healthy appetite for consumer goods has emerged.  As a result, the few vehicles that were built locally during the 1980s and the 1990s have largely disappeared and automotive landscape is dominated by late-model cars.   Chinese drivers tend to have a preference for German and Japanese brands, but strict government regulations and stiff tariffs mean that most foreign vehicles are built locally through joint-ventures.

One of the most common older models is the Volkswagen Santana, which essentially a four-door version of the second-generation Passat that was introduced in Europe in 1981.  Axed from the Volkswagen lineup last year, the Santana underwent several facelifts over the past 15 or so years but the original design stuck around until the early 2000s.  It is hard to tell exactly how old a Santana is without popping the hood or seeing the title, but we’d guess that not a lot of the 1980s examples are still on the road today.

Fitted with a third brake light, two remaining plastic hubcaps and yellow fog lamps, the GLi model pictured below was likely built in the late 1990s or in the early 2000s.  It is fairly rusty around the edges, which is not surprising considering the region’s humid climate, and it wears a gray and white two-tone paint job that was not applied at the factory.

Don’t let the GLi moniker fool you: This isn’t a performance-focused, sport-tuned model. It is equipped with a 1.8-liter four-cylinder that churns out 96 horsepower.

One thought on “Driven daily: Volkswagen Santana GLi

  1. Pingback: Botoxed in China: Citroën ZX | Ran When Parked

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