Requiem For The Rabbit

Edward Niedermeyer
by Edward Niedermeyer
requiem for the rabbit

VW is killing the Rabbit, reports C&D. Well, the name anyway. And not a moment too soon. Sure, there’s some history there: the Rabbit was one of the first foreign cars to be mass produced in the US, helping kick off one of the most significant trends in US automotive history. But the Rabbit name also embodies so many of the compromises that have become stock-in-trade for North America-only models. Ugly, “Americanized” interiors and shoddy quality (not to mention the square headlights) marred early US production of VW’s rodent Golf-alike. When the name was revived in 2006 in a blaze of nostalgia marketing, it was saddled with a thirsty, primitive 2.5-liter engine while Euro-spec Golfs boasted a wide range of more advanced, efficient engines. Ultimately, the Rabbit name has come to signify unnecessary compromise and VW’s arrogance towards an American market it sees (and helps define) as crude and unsophisticated. With the Polo headed stateside and the Golf name returning, VW is not only re-rationalizing its nomenclature (games!), it’s taking a chance that America is ready for smaller, lighter, more “European” products. Well, sort of.

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4 of 36 comments
  • Jerseydevil Jerseydevil on Mar 26, 2009

    this seems like much ado about nothing to me. I do want more and better engine choices tho, a bigger sunroof, and more reliability. I own a 95, it has been fun, but expensive to maintain. But, it still runs like its new, its amazing. Also, I have nothing but good things to say about my dealership, Cherry Hill VW in Jersey. LIke VW, they are expensive, I do not use them for regular maintenance, but they have always been gratious, well informed and respectful to me.

  • Mdmadph Mdmadph on Mar 26, 2009

    I still don't see what was wrong with the name "Golf," considering they had been selling it under that name for years...

  • Tosh Tosh on Mar 26, 2009

    Has VW had anything halfway desirable since the Corrado VR6? (And exploiting Brooke Shields in a tight skirt doesn't count!)

  • Jybt Jybt on Mar 26, 2009

    "Not enough bunny love? Good riddance!" I think no one else has bothered to call attention to what the rabbits are doing...