The Volkswagen Santana holds a special place in the history of the Chinese automotive industry, symbolizing an enduring relationship that spans decades. Since the introduction of the first generation model in 1983, the Santana has been one of the country’s most popular offerings on the new car market. The first-gen model was produced locally until early 2013 in sedan form and now, a surprising discovery adds a new chapter to the Santana’s legacy. Five brand new sedans were found abandoned in a warehouse and they are all in factory condition.
The cars were unearthed by Han Chung Classics, a Chinese aftermarket company focused on selling parts for older Volkswagens. The white sedans were discovered in a warehouse tucked away in an undisclosed location in China, and all have identical hubcaps and black cloth interiors. According to the available information, these were never registered for street use and most of them have close to zero mileage on the odometer.
Unfortunately, not much else is known at the moment. We contacted the tuning shop for more details and will update this story if and when we hear back. For the time being, all we can say is that these five Santana sedans were built in 2012 and have 1.8-liter gas engines under the hoods.
Essentially a modified second-generation VW Passat, the first-generation Santana made its debut in China in 1983 through a historic joint venture between Volkswagen and the Chinese government. This collaboration marked the beginning of China’s automotive transformation, as the Santana became one of the first foreign-branded cars to be produced in the country. Boasting a spacious interior, robust build, and reliable performance, the Santana quickly gained popularity among Chinese consumers, earning the nickname “the people’s car.”
Over the years, the first-generation Santana underwent several updates and improvements. Depending on the model year, features such as Bosch electronic fuel injection system, MP3 and CD compatible radios, ABS brakes with electronic brake distribution, and others can be found. The equipment of these particular cars appears to be pretty basic with no power windows and side mirrors.
As a final note, Volkswagen still sells the Santana in China as a brand new vehicle. Through its joint venture with SAIC, the German firm offers a small sedan with that name powered by a 1.5-liter gas engine and wearing a starting price of about $12,400.
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