We’ve added a new set of spy shots that show the Jetta VS5 prototype testing in broad daylight. (Update 3/1/2019)
The VW Group isn’t losing time with its newly-announced Jetta standalone brand for China. Testing is already underway with Jetta’s VS5 model and these are the first spy shots of the SUV. Spotted during winter testing in Europe, the VS5 is completely camouflaged, leaving exposed only the headlights and taillights. While these photos aren’t very revealing, the alloy wheel design helps us identify the model as the VS5.
We’ve seen the exact same alloys in the official photos of the Jetta SUV model released two days ago when VW made the announcement regarding the new brand. Why the camouflage, then? Well, it’s highly likely that VW has been testing the VS5 for a while now and didn’t want people to see what it was testing before an announcement was made.
While there’s no official information about the VS5 SUV, reports from China claim it is a rebadged Seat Ateca. The official photos and these spy shots certainly seem to support that hypothesis. While the VS5 features different front and rear end designs, the side profile is very similar to the Ateca. No details are available about the engine lineup but the 2.0-liter TSI turbocharged four-cylinder unit should be on offer.
The Jetta brand will debut in the third quarter of this year with three models: the VA3 (a rebadged version of the Chinese-market VW Jetta), The VS5 (Seat Ateca), and the VS7 (Seat Tarraco). All three models will be manufactured by the FAW-Volkswagen joint venture in Chengdu, Sichuan province.
Before you ask the obvious question why does VW need another brand in China when it has Skoda to cover the lower end of the market, you should know VW Group’s presence in China is split into two main (competing) joint ventures.
FAW-Volkswagen builds and sells certain VW and Audi models while SAIC-Volkswagen does the same with Skoda and other VW vehicles. FAW-Volkswagen needed a new brand to slot below VW and decided to go with Jetta since that’s a highly recognizable name in China. The fact that Jetta will sell Seat vehicles doesn’t affect the Spanish brand which is not present in China.