By on October 12, 2017

2015 Volkswagen Scirocco - Image: Volkswagen

The Volkswagen Scirocco has reached the end of the line as the death bed for the third-generation model receives its patient after a prolonged but largely unsuccessful decade.

Closely related to the Mk5 Volkswagen Golf — not the Mk6 or Mk7 that were introduced during its tenure — the Scirocco always faced headwinds in the form of Volkswagen’s own more practical Golf GTI.

Although earlier iterations of the Volkswagen Scirocco and its Corrado successor were marketed in America, the latest Scirocco never made it across the Atlantic.

“That’s a piece of the lineup that I would dearly love to see here,” then Volkswagen of America CEO Jonathan Browning said four years into the Scirroco’s tenure. The concerns, of course, were related to the fact that the Scirocco would cannibalize the GTI, and vice versa.

And for that very reason — the fact that the Scirocco couldn’t succeed alongside the Golf — the Scirocco’s European experiment is ending before a rumored fourth-gen model could ever dream of making it in America.

According to Car And Driver, the only Sciroccos now available in Europe are Sciroccos that have already been built. So ends a run that began in 1974 and ended (the first time) in 1992.

The final Scirocco was previewed by the 2006 Paris Motor Show’s IROC Concept. While the outrageous front end (which seems so much less outrageous 11 years later) was neutered for production by incoming Volkswagen boss Martin Winterkorn, Car And Driver says, the overall Scirocco shape remained largely intact for production. The rather, how do you say in the German, klobig rear end bulged out of clothes.2015 Volkswagen Scirocco - Image: VolkswagenThe third-gen Scirocco was not unpopular to begin with, but timing the launch of a sporty car with global economic collapse did Volkswagen no favors. According to CarSalesBase, European Scirocco volume tumbled from a high of 45,248 units in its first full year (2009) to only 10,093 units in 2014, a 78-percent dive produced by year after year after year after year of declines. Only 60,000 Sciroccos have been sold across Europe during the last five calendar years, a period in which Volkswagen sold more than twice that many Beetles in Europe.

As for the Portugal-built Sciroccos that remain, the basic 180-horsepower Scirocco is priced in the UK from £18,195. The 220-horsepower model costs £25,550, or £2,770 less than the Golf GTI. The 280-horsepower Scirocco R lists at £30,190, which is £2,520 less than the Golf R, albeit without the Golf R’s all-wheel drive.

Timothy Cain is a contributing analyst at The Truth About Cars and and the founder and former editor of Follow on Twitter @timcaincars and Instagram.

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18 Comments on “Goodbye Volkswagen Scirocco, We Hardly Knew Ye...”

  • avatar

    It was pretty lame compared to the original ones we got here in the US, both the first- and second-generation models.

    But even those weren’t all that great – I had a friend back in the day that bought one of the MkII Sciroccos, and the materials (particularly in the interior) and reliability left a lot to be desired.

  • avatar

    I would not buy a Golf but I WOULD have bought this. IT IS COOL!!!!!!

  • avatar

    Volkswagen never misses an opportunity to miss an opportunity.

  • avatar

    My first car was a used 1979 Scirocco followed by several GTIs. I still miss the Scirocco. Still, I wouldn’t have bought the one pictured.

    • 0 avatar

      Yeah, I liked gens 1 and 2, but this isn’t doing a lot for me. Given how weak the hatch market is here and they already have the GTI, can’t blame VW for not importing it.

  • avatar

    @mikedt – totally this. I had an ’84 GLI, ’90 GTi 16v and a ’94 Corrado SLC. Always wanted a Scirocco and/or 2.0l 16v Jetta GTX (Canada), but they were too expensive new/used. When I got old enough to have more $$, they were too old/beat up, so I bought a Corrado.

    This is no Scirocco – this is a Polo with a bodykit.. Blech!

  • avatar

    I member as a child I thought the name was pronounced “sorro-seeo.”

  • avatar

    The first car I purchased was a three year old ’75 Scirocco, and I still have dreams about driving it occasionally. In real life, of course, I would not want to be driving around today in a car with 78 horsepower. But it fit my needs while in college. It never got stuck in the snow in Ithaca.

    I have admired the current generation Scirocco when in Europe, and, if I was interested in purchasing this class of car, I would much prefer the styling of the Scirocco to that of the GTI, provided it had all of the GTI’s go fast parts.

    • 0 avatar

      I also had a ’75 Scirocco, bought new from Skyline VW in Pocatello. Fun to drive, handled pretty well. It was little more than a Rabbit (Golf) in different clothing but looked pretty cool. Had first year problems – carburetor needed a bunch of work under warranty due to hesitation, cut-out on throttle tip-in and catalytic convertor overheating (instrument panel “CAT” light would come on and the cat would be glowing red). The carb was healed but it still would overheat the cat under continuous load up the mountain roads. It was a perfect single person’s vehicle and could carry a bunch of stuff with the back seats folded and the large hatch was just right for loading/unloading. Ended up totaled by a high school kid rear-ending it in Chula Vista in ’78. Sad.

  • avatar
    MRF 95 T-Bird

    You figure with the demise of the 3 door Golf/GTi here in the states the Scirocco would be imported to fill its niche.

  • avatar

    When you can’t even be arsed to bring a widebody, high-po, pseudo-lux coupe to the land of easy money, status-seeking, open roads, and cheap gas, then it’s worse than not even trying: it’s just plain cynical. Cranium up rectum is Volkswagen.

  • avatar

    My sister bought a brand new 1977 Scirocco and never had any issues for many years. After that both she and her husband bought ONLY VWs for the next twenty years: Quantum, Fox, T4 Transporter Camper Van. He passed away in 2012 and had been dreaming of one day getting a newer European spec Corrado or Scirocco.
    He respected my views on domestic cars (Cadillac, Oldsmobile and Buick)
    and I was proud of his love for Volkswagen. Of course having a father from Germany might have been a part of the reason!
    I think the car on this page is fantastic and would like to know how one could import such a car from Europe. And I do not care what a VW “Polo” is!

  • avatar

    Such a sad loss. A 55 MPgiesel that would take you from Berlin to Warsaw in one tank

  • avatar

    Such a missed opportunity. The bodystyle looks great…one of the most attractive to come from VW in quite a while.

    I get the fear of cannibalizing GTI sales…but that’s only because the lineup is kind of moronic. The 3 door GTI was just discontinued here. Obviously, the 5 door is probably the more well rounded car. So why not make the GTI 5 door only, and position the Scirocco as VW’s halo performance car? Let it start out with the standard GTI drivetrain and give it awd and a motor that even surpasses the Golf R? Instant money maker.

  • avatar

    The first generation, designed by Giugiaro, was really the only attractive one. The Corrado was strongly influenced by the first generation Scirocco and not bad, especially with the gutsy little VR6 engine. This third generation Scirocco would have sold better if it had returned to the fastback bodystyle of the earlier cars.

  • avatar

    Funny, as I just sent an ebay ad for a ridiculously low-miles MkI Scirocco to my friend…one of those “if I had $100k, I’d buy about 8-10 really different cars and this would be one of them” games. The lines of the first one were just so right. Another friend of mine had a MkI while I had a MkI Rabbit. While much the same under the skin, his just always looked so much cooler.
    Saw several of the third-gen in my back and forth trips to Germany. In a certain blue metallic they were quite attractive to me, though I doubt they would have had any real success in the US.

  • avatar

    I never understood why they made it a hatchback.

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