Small Car Love Gives Volkswagen's Golf Wagons a Reprieve North of the Border

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
small car love gives volkswagen s golf wagons a reprieve north of the border

While Volkswagen won’t offer any 2020 model-year Golf SportWagens or Alltracks in the U.S., a broader customer base in Canada means the two models will soldier on for an extra year. It’s possible a next-generation successor might appear, too.

While Canadians are just as attracted to trucks and SUVs as Americans, small cars — and especially the two wagon variants — make up a much larger slice of the VW pie north of the 49th parallel. As soon as the automaker announced the discontinuation of North American-market Golf wagons, VW’s Canadian arm pulled together a plan.

Basically, stockpiling as many of ’em as it can.

According to Automotive News, the plan involves assembling enough 2019 SportWagens and Alltracks to cover buyers’ wishes for another full year. The automaker will crank out Canadian-market 2019 models until the end of the year.

Despite falling sales of Golf-badged models in Canada, the number of vehicles sold in relation to the entire VW portfolio isn’t insignificant. In the U.S., Golfs of all stripes make up about 10 percent of VW sales. Up north, it’s around 27 percent.

Key differences between the two groups of consumers is why Canadians have far greater choice re: engines and transmissions in the new Mazda 3.

“We see opportunity to continue this,” said VW Canada spokesman Thomas Tetzlaff. “VW Canada does not exist in a vacuum. We’re very tied to [the United States], and when product decisions are made, one side affects the other.”

Tetzlaff explained that, despite the relatively limited numbers, the Golf wagons have a “loyal customer base,” which is why the company’s Canuck arm is attempting to secure approval for an eighth-generation model expected to land next year. Already, the next-gen base Golf hatchback — a model facing discontinuation in the U.S. — has been greenlit for the Canadian market.

While Americans can still expect hotter GTI and R variants, the entry-level model bit the dust amid cratering sales. In Canada, the base Golf made up 71 percent of the nameplate’s sales, Tetzlaff said.

“With respect for the SportWagen and the Alltrack, that’s still up in the air.”

[Images: Volkswagen of America]

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  • Whatnext Whatnext on Sep 09, 2019

    If they can do this for Canadians, why can't they bring in the new Touareg!

  • JRoth JRoth on Sep 09, 2019

    Timely! I just discovered something weird about my new Alltrack, and I was wondering if anyone here could explain it: according to C&D, the drive ratios for 4th and 5th gear in the 6-speed manual are 0.91 and 0.90. Is this some sort of misinformation, or is there some reason for having 2 gears that are basically identical? For the record, 3rd is given as 1.32, and 6th is 0.76.

    • Hummer Hummer on Sep 09, 2019

      I’d imagine 4th should be 1:1, otherwise that would be very odd.

  • Pianoboy57 My family had the '71 1900 2dr hardtop. That car was sure a lot of fun. My brother wrecked it and Dad found another one w/o an engine. We spent the next year making one 1900 out of two.
  • Tassos Your title says FORD to offer blah blah, but on the photo there is a DAMNED KIA instead What gives?
  • Dukeisduke There were aftermarket ac/c systems for these - they used a plastic duct with vents that sat atop the transmission tunnel.
  • GrumpyOldMan I had a '73 for around 18 years. It had a foot operated windshield washer pump, four grease fittings (one on each each door hinge), and coil spring rear/transverse leaf front suspension. No trunk, but a good size luggage area behind the seats. Almost made it to 200K miles, but the tin worm got it.
  • Dukeisduke As far as I'm concerned, the jury's still out on the new Tacoma. I've read about too many new Tundras with mechanical problems like failed wastegates. I'm not confident these won't have similar teething problems. Toyota should just stay away from turbos.