Are the days of the VW Golf numbered?

Thomas Schäfer has only been sitting in the VW executive chair for a few weeks – and immediately draws attention to himself with a bang. Not with what he said, but rather with what he didn’t say.

In an interview, Schäfer avoided making a clear commitment to golf. More precisely to the Golf 9.

When asked whether the current eighth is the last Golf, Schäfer dodged: “We will have to see whether it is worth developing a new vehicle that does not last the full seven or eight years. That would be extreme expensive.”

Development costs keep rising

Expensive mainly because the development costs continue to rise, the planned Euro 7 emission standard could cost 3000 to 5000 euros – per car. This can hardly be represented even in the now anything but cheap compact class.

In addition, the demand for what was once a sure-fire success is declining, and not just because of it corona and Ukraine war: small cars and SUV outperform the compact, quality and software problems have scratched the reputation.
In the first quarter of 2022, the VW Golf had to give up its traditional first place in European registration statistics to the Peugeot 208.

The main reason for Schäfer’s hesitation, however, is likely to be that Volkswagen has committed itself to e-mobility and wants to get rid of the combustion engine as quickly as possible.

The new Golf would start in rotation in 2027, theoretically until the combustion engine ban planned by the EU in 2035. But Schäfer sees the future in the ID. models, and nothing will change in this group strategy even after Diess’ departure.

ID.3 takes on the role of the electric Golf

The important question is: does VW want to say goodbye to the compact class with the Golf? Certainly not. The ID.3 is already set to take on the role of the electric Golf, which has since been discontinued, and there will always be a 4.30 meter car from Wolfsburg – even if it’s no longer called Golf. (VW ID.3: everything that is important about the electric car from VW)
However, the experiment of exchanging an established name is daring. Toyota, for example, quickly reversed the change from Corolla to Auris.
On the other hand, VW itself provides the best counter-argument: in the early 1970s, after much back and forth, the Wolfsburg managers decided to replace an aging, technically outdated series with a completely new, modern one – the Beetle became the Golf.

The end has not yet been decided, Thomas Schäfer says: “We will know more in twelve months.”

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