The current version of the combustion-engine Volkswagen Golf model will probably be the last as markets shift toward electric vehicles, according to VW’s brand chief.
The eighth iteration of the compact car will get another upgrade next year that should keep it attractive to customers throughout the second half of the decade, Thomas Schaefer said in an interview with Automobilwoche published Sunday.
“If the world develops totally differently by 2026 or 2027 than expected, then we can also launch a completely new vehicle again. But I don’t believe that,” Schaefer said. “So far this isn’t envisaged.”
The Golf was first introduced in 1974 and has been one of the bestselling cars for Europe’s biggest automaker for years. But demand for hatchbacks has declined as customers increasingly opt for more spacious SUVs.
VW flanked the Golf with an all-electric sibling, the ID.3, about three years ago.
Schaefer said VW could consider an electric Golf with new technology as early as 2028, but it would need to carry key features that distinguish it from the ID.3.
Lucky number 8
The eight-generation VW Golf could be the last of its kind as not only is the German automaker shifting investments away from internal-combustion engines (ICE) towards bringing down the cost of electric vehicles (EV), but buyers are also leaning more towards practical body shapes like crossovers and SUVs rather than the more conventional hatchbacks.
This is evidenced by VW only launching two variants of the new Golf 8 in South Africa, the sporty GTI and high-performance Rstating that its “strategy in South Africa focuses on the performance attributes of the Golf.”
Simultaneously, the domestic subsidiary of VW strengthened its positioning in the SUV category in 2022 by debuting a new model in this body style, the Taigobringing the brand’s SUV offerings to a total of six.
The prioritisation of the larger vehicle type became even clearer when VW launched the first-ever Tiguan R in South Africa around six months before introducing the new Golf R, despite the hatchback being a well-liked nameplate for multiple generations.
Moreover, the automaker initially planned to launch the ID.3 electric hatchback, the spiritual counterpart of the petrol Golf, in the country, but later said it “will no longer be bringing the ID.3, but the ID.4” – which is a battery-powered SUV.
South Africa is by no means the barometer for vehicle availability across the world, but the Golf’s limited selection nonetheless signals a change in tides.
While we now know that a ninth generation of the hatch is unlikely to become a reality, the good news is the legendary VW is due for a major mid-life facelift in 2024 and will still be available for the remainder of the decade, so there’s more than enough time left to get your hands on one.
Additional reporting from Bloomberg.
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