Report: Next-generation, Entry-level Volkswagen Golf Not Bound for U.S.

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
report next generation entry level volkswagen golf not bound for u s

It sounds like something that should be taken with a grain of salt, though recent sales figures back up a report that claims the basic version of the eighth-generation Volkswagen Golf won’t make it to the United States.

The regular, non-performance version of VW’s long-running hatch wins praise for offering budget fun and above-par fit and finish, but the current generation’s replacement might not come here without GTI or R lettering on the back.

Motor1 reports that a Volkswagen employee at a first drive event in California said the regular Golf won’t return when the next-gen model arrives in 2020, and neither will a SportWagen variant. When contacted, the automaker reportedly wouldn’t comment on the employee’s statement.

The next-gen Golf is expected to see the light of day in October, making its way stateside sometime in 2020. While its platform remains the same as the Mk7 model, and its profile and footprint stay true to tradition, styling changes and a mild-hybrid powertrain await.

It seems unconscionable that VW would drop the Golf in favor of the hotter GTI and hottest R, but there’s no avoiding the fact that buyers are straying from the nameplate in huge numbers. Golf sales fell 51 percent in the U.S. last year and 20 percent in the first four months of 2019. In 2018, Americans took home 6,642 Golfs, compared to 16,684 turbocharged GTIs.

Volkswagen’s Golf R, the definitive hot hatch, saw 3,468 buyers last year, meaning basic Golfs weren’t even twice as popular as the significantly pricer performance model. SportWagen sales, including the relatively recent all-wheel drive Alltrack, totalled 14,123 units in 2018, down 47 percent from a year earlier, and 2019 sales show a 51-percent year-to-date drop.

The new-for-2019 Jetta, on the other hand, shows a 63-percent year-to-date increase this year, with sales totalling 30,834 units (to the basic Golf’s 2,159). Meanwhile, the higher-margin Tiguan and Atlas continue to climb. In 2019, as automakers face leaner years ahead, cost cutting runs rampant, and Volkswagen needs all the streamlining it can manage in order to fulfill its electric vehicle promises.

Again, the Golf’s future is a question mark. A VW spokesperson tells RoadShow that the basic next-gen model’s appearance in America remains “under consideration,” but factors exist to back up a decision to discontinue the U.S.-market Golf while keeping pricier variants alive.

(Update: Volkswagen of America’s head of product communications, Mark Gilles, reiterated the message given to RoadShow in an email to TTAC. The next-gen GTI and R are confirmed, while the basic Golf and SportWagen remain under consideration for the U.S. market.)

[Image: Volkswagen]

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  • Dividebytube Dividebytube on May 06, 2019

    Not a Golf - they share the same architecture now - but I was impressed by the recent rental Jetta my wife and I used. Not pokey with the 1.4L, good handling, roomy interior (well compared to what we drive), and we actually got over 35mpg in a mix of city/mountain driving in North Carolina. If I was looking for a plain-Jane sedan and needed good gas mileage without going for a hybrid, the Jetta would be high on my list. - provided the warranty was good.

  • Bill Wade Bill Wade on May 06, 2019

    I bought a new Sportwagen manual. The small turbo 1.8 runs very well while I'm averaging just short of 40 mpg. It seems to be an outstanding car for the money. It's kind of sad it gets so little attention from purchasers.

  • Parkave231 On the one hand, I always thought that TriPower was a horrible name for the L3B engine (and LSY, although I don't recall seeing that name applied in practice), especially since one of the three technologies reduces said power (AFM). Of all the historic GM names to bring back...On the other hand, TurboMAX is a horrible replacement name. Turbo-Quad4? (Yes, I know it's not.) FleetFour? (Seemingly target market?) FourReal?
  • SCE to AUX The diesel isn't that compelling compared to the 2.7T, when you consider the 50% fuel cost premium and the need for DEF.But regularly towing 9500 lbs with a 4-cylinder (even a low-stress one like this) seems to be overdoing it. I'd get the 4 for lighter duty, the diesel for medium duty, and one of the 8s for heavy duty.
  • Analoggrotto Over the years GM has shown a keen interest in focusing their attention and development money on large, expensive or specialized vehicles and little to no progress in developing something excellent to complete with such class leaders as : Camry, Telluride, Civic, CR-V, Highlander, Accord, or even ho hum Corolla. And this is the way class division works in the heartland/rustbelt: pretend to care for the common man but cater the public resources to additional security and comfort for the upper echelons of society. GM is Elitist American Communism.
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