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Cold water poured on hot Golf

Import push: VGA would like to import as many as 100 UK-spec R32s for local sale.

The Federal Government has rejected Volkswagen's R32 for import, but the company is still trying

25 Jul 2002

VOLKSWAGEN'S hot Golf R32 is in doubt for Australia after being knocked back for import under the Federal Government's low volume import Specialist and Enthusiast Vehicle Scheme.

The Federal Office of Road Safety has sent Volkswagen Group Australia back to the drawing board with its rejection of the rival for Impreza WRX and Lancer Evo.

But VGA managing director Peter Nochar is not giving up on selling the 177kw, 3.2-litre V6 Golf three-door here just yet.

"It's a problem for us at the moment with the R32, about whether it's considered by the government to be different enough in terms of the legislation, and the criteria is that it is significantly different," Mr Nochar said.

"We understand the car is significantly different and maybe the regulations don't.

"We are in the chase for additional documents and information at the moment." Mr Nochar admitted he was not particularly confident of successfully lobbying a change of mind. He also estimated it could take as long as three months before a decision is made.

VGA would like to import as many as 100 UK-spec R32s for local sale with pricing set between $60,000 and $70,000. It has already received inquiries about the car from potential buyers but has refused to take any orders "We've just had to say no," Mr Nochar said.

"We don't recommend anyone places a deposit or goes on a waiting list until we've ticked the box about being able to bring it here, because it just causes grief (if R32 never comes)." While the volume numbers are not high, Mr Nochar sees other benefits from importing the R32.

"We think we would sell an interesting number and have a halo effect on the Golf brand which we like," he said.

VGA also has plans to race the R32 in the Australian GT Production Championship next year.

The R32's V6 is the same as the unit used in the new Phaeton luxury saloon, with technical features including continuously variable inlet valve timing, cylinder-selective knock control and a variable geometry intake manifold.

Lowered suspension, ventilated disc brakes with blue callipers, a bodykit and twin exhausts exiting either side of the rear-end complete the aggressive exterior package.

Inside the car there is black leather finish and a brushed aluminium look for the pedals, cockpit and gearstick. The R32 also comes with sports seats, air-conditioning, eight-speaker audio system, a multi-function display and Xenon headlights.

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