‘Golf 8 not vital to VW’s electric future’
On Thursday, Volkswagen presented the eighth generation of its Golf, the most successful model in its history. With all hopes put on the fully electric I.D. 3, the Golf’s success isn’t vital to the company’s future anymore, but it remains a significant money-maker. Which is why VW reused the technical basis from the previous generation, and investments have been lowered.
The Golf is Volkswagen’s most successful model. First launched in 1974, the German manufacturer sold more than 35 million of them around the world. However, times are changing, especially for VW after Dieselgate and its consequent switch towards electricity.
High volumes, less investment
“Although it’s a success symbol, the Golf’s function today is to make money”, declares Stefan Bratzel, director of the Automotive Management Centre. To get as far as possible for Dieselgate, Volkswagen is investing massively into electricity. The development of its I.D. 3 represents a 30 million euro bet in battery-electric cars.
“The upswing of I.D. 3 won’t happen in a night. Thus, the Golf must still ensure most of the volumes for quite some years. Otherwise, Volkswagen would be in trouble,” adds Mr. Bratzel. Last year, the Golf still represented 832.000 units or 13% of the brand’s sales.
In other words, the Golf can be seen as a placeholder until the electric revolution starts. To better their odds, Volkswagen reused the technical basis of the previous generation for its new Golf 8. Thus, the new model is already available with diesel, petrol, CNG, and even plug-in hybrid powertrains.
“The Golf represents an important intermediate step towards the reduction of greenhouse gases”, declared VW’s CEO, Herbert Diess. Within the brand’s range, not only does the Golf faces competition from its electric sister, but also SUVs. They should represent half of VW’s sales by 2025.
“Thus, the Golf is important but not vital anymore. As was the case for the Beetle, the era of the Golf will stop at some point,” adds Ferdinand Dudenhöffer, director of the Centre Automotive Research (CAR).