For the past 15 years, the Volkswagen Golf was the best-selling car in Europe. However, it just lost that position. Now Volkswagen are saying they are completely changing their strategy around the Golf.
In 2022, the Peugeot 208 topped the European new car sales charts overtaking the Volkswagen Golf, which had occupied the annual top spot since 2007. The French Supermini recorded 206,816 sales, a 5% improvement, compared with 2021 and almost 30,000 more than the 177,000 of the Volkswagen Golf. Volkswagen sales themselves went down 7% in 2022 versus the previous lean year of 2021, which was quite a shock to a lot of people. They’re saying that now, this year, 2023 is chaos for them. There’s a chip shortage that’s going to further affect their production.In other words, don’t hold out too much hope for a rebound in sales this year and the interesting thing is, the Volkswagen Golf sales didn’t fall from first to second. They fell from first to fifth place.
The Dacia Sandero also outsold the Golf. So did the Volkswagen T rock, as did the Fiat 500.In fact, the Volkswagen Golf was nearly beaten by the Toyota Yaris. And the Opel Vauxhall Corsa wasn’t far behind. It seems to me as though the Golf has seen its last days. But Volkswagen, they’re saying the new model will be fully electric. They realized that the key reason for the flagging sales of the Golf is it’s not electric.Well, they do have an electric version, but it’s abysmal.
Now, the Mk 8 Volkswagen Golf is getting some tiny little improvements next year. These will take the current model out to an expected electric replacement later on. Volkswagen CEO Thomas Schaefer said he expects the midlife update for the brand’s top-selling hatchback will be introduced in 2024.
What that means is we’re not going to see electric Golf now for years, and the sales of the Golf will just continue to drop. Now, here’s what’s happening in the European car market. Updates to the Golf will be a more efficient1.5 liter turbo engine that combines a PPF filter and three-way catalytic converters into one module and reduces the use of precious metals, as well as an enhanced active cylinder management system, which shuts off two cylinders under low engine load.
In other words, Volkswagen has been spending quite a fair bit of time and money into developing an updated version of the Golf, which will have these new internal combustion engine technologies. I personally think it’s a complete waste of money. However, they don’t. Now, Volkswagen says this new power unit will also form the basis of a new generation plugin hybrid system that’s due to proliferate amongst MQB Evo-based models in the near future. Using the 1.5-liter TSI Evo 2 as a base, the plugin hybrid will offer around 200 kW, or around about 290 HP, indicating a 20 kilowatt, or around about 30 HP increase in power of the GTE.
Here’s the thing. Plugin hybrid incentives are being scraped all around the world and the key reason being, it turns out, that manufacturers have been telling stories or porcupines, whatever you want to call it, making up fiction about the actual fuel use and the emissions of plugin hybrids. It turns out they’re actually far worse. In fact, in many cases, 300% or worse than the manufacturers are claiming.
Now, Volkswagen has said the driving range of the new plugin hybrid will be up to 100 km, quoted in various group materials. Speaking of future products, but I think the thing is here that this new model, this plug-in hybrid, will actually be priced at a similar level to a Tesla Model 3.
So the question you have to ask yourself is, would you prefer to buy a Volkswagen Golf plugin hybrid or a Tesla Model Three? Well, personally, I know the answer to that myself. But what on the names? What’s your answer?
Volkswagen also says it’s planning to integrate a mild hybrid system to its 2-liter turbo diesel motor. But if you’re actually thinking that that’s a proper hybrid or something even worth considering, well, no, it’s not. In fact, if you own one of these, I think you have to be mad or really not interested at all in ever selling it or ever getting even half your money back on the sale of that car. So Volkswagen says that this new well, not new, but this updated version of the current Volkswagen Golf will actually be on sale between 2024 and 2028. In other words, they expect to sell pretty much the current model with some updates for the next five years. “We are working on a portfolio to see what will be the successor to the current Volkswagen Golf. And from my point of view, it will not be one with a combustion engine. It must be an electric vehicle, Mr.Schaefer from Volkswagen said.
Now, according to overseas reports, the new Golf will be called the ID Golf, or the Golf ID, and it will sit underneath the next generation ID 3 and above the smaller ID 2, which will launch in the coming years. The 9th generation Golf, though, which will be called the MK Nine, is expected to be based on the upcoming SSP electric platform, which is due in 2026 and set to replace both the current MEB and PPE electric architectures, as well as the internal combustion engine based MQB, MLB, and MSP platforms. In other words, Volkswagen have been working on this new Trinity project. Basically, this car would be one of the first to have that new platform, but that won’t actually happen until 2026. In other words, the next Volkswagen Golf won’t actually emerge until 2026, 3 years from now, and that will be the first fully electric-based Golf. Now, I think it’s good news that the next one will be fully electric, but it’s bad news that Volkswagen has to wait 3 years and 3 years of disruption until they can actually sell a Golf that’s electric or properly electric to the public. The Volkswagen Golfer was once an iconic car worldwide. People loved it. And then along came the diesel fiasco. Many Golfs around the world were diesel. And then along came the SUV craze. And then along came the EV revolution. The Golf? Well, it’s not part of it. Personally, I have my doubts that the Golf EV will ever exist. Maybe it will. But as far as I can tell, Volkswagen has not even started production or work on the new EV architecture. In fact, they’re still working on a modified version of their current MEB electric architecture. So, mark 2 for the MEB could be this car, or it could be the new SSP. But either way, by the time this car hits the market, there will be so many more compelling electric cars priced lower, most likely from Chinese automakers, possibly even a budget-priced Tesla Model 2. I think that will mean the Golf may be actually finished as a brand. It’s very possible. Hopefully not, though. Hopefully, Volkswagen get a move on and bring out a new Volkswagen electric Golf in order to reclaim their sales crown in Europe. Could this happen? Well, I guess anything’s possible. Is it likely?