The sedan lives. Just ask Volkswagen, and you’ll learn

To hear some of the pundits lay it out, you’d figure that the sedan, as an automotive body style, is in the same place as Generalissimo Francisco Franco: Dead and buried. It’s certainly true that the auto industry, especially here, has galloped frantically in the direction of crossovers, SUVs and trucks. But the traditionalist three-box sedan still has its diehard adherents, who can shop from brands ranging from Subaru to Jaguar, and here, to Volkswagen. After digitally redoing the famed two-letter “lollipop” that forms its logo, Volkswagen has provided a market update demonstrating that one-third of its global automotive output, led by the Golf, is still paced by sedans. That total includes more than 1.6 million vehicles sold in China, a figure that reflects the COVID-19 slowdown in the marketplace over there. Speaking of which, Volkswagen also reported that the pandemic is showing signs of easing in China of late, noting that vehicle and component production has now resumed at all of Volkswagen’s sites in China.

Volkswagen produced a series of vehicles exclusively for the Chinese market, often in alliance with technical partners from the world’s most populous nation. Here’s a photo of one such collaboration. The SAIC Volkswagen third-generation Lavida has been in production since 2018, jointly built by Volkswagen and partner SAIC Motor, which was previously known as Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation, a state-owned firm that’s one of China’s “Big Four” automakers. The Passat-sized Lavida rides on Volkswagen’s MQB platform, and with 491,000 units sold, it was China’s top-selling car last year. Riding on a 105.5-inch wheelbase, its base power comes from a 1.4-liter TSI inline-four, although an electric version is also available that used the powertrain from the e-Golf. Nice-looking car, huh?

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