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VW Golf set to tee off at hot price

Value added: Volkswagen has declared 2013 the year of the Golf as it gets set to welcome the seventh-generation of its popular small car in April.

Volkswagen promises to maintain Golf value pressure with arrival of new generation

Volkswagen logo30 Jan 2013

VOLKSWAGEN has promised sharp pricing on its new seventh-generation Golf when its arrives in Australian showrooms at the end April.

The fast-growing German company, which finished eighth with a bullet on the sales leaderboard last year, says it will also be armed with good launch supplies of the mass-selling small car that accounts for up to 50 per cent of its sales volume.

Volkswagen, which will celebrate its 60th anniversary in Australia this year, is describing 2013 as the year of the Golf.

Volkswagen Group Australia (VGA) managing director Anke Koeckler declined to say how the company would price the new Golf, which will be introduced in base-model form and then expanded with the hot GTI hatch late this year.

“You will be astonished,” she said when asked about planned pricing.

The current range starts at $21,990 for the five-door 1.2-litre 77TSI, topping out at $49,990 for the flagship Golf R.

3 center imageThis year, Volkswagen will have the added complication of the similar-sized Skoda Rapid’s arrival from the VW Group stable, a car that will almost certainly be priced below the cheapest Golf.

VGA today confirmed that the Czech-made Rapid – a five-door liftback hatch – will arrive mid year, giving VW's European budget brand an entry to this country’s competitive small car segment.

Most pundits expect a sub-$20,000 price for the Rapid, with the Golf starting in the low $20k range, about the same as the current Golf base model.

An all-new Skoda Octavia mid-sizer is also due later in the year, further complicating matters.

The Golf 7 – built on the German company's all-new MQB platform that also underpins the new Audi A3 and upcoming Skoda Octavia – will be the highlight of VW's model launch program this year. Other cars on the launch pad include the new Mexican-made Beetle from next month and the much anticipated V8 diesel Tourareg flagship SUV in March.

In commercial vehicles, VW is set to tweak the Amarakok ute and launch a new variant of its Caddy compact van – adding a removable rear bench seat and windows to the Caddy Maxi cargo van for flexible load carrying.

Ms Koeckler declined to predict Volkswagen's sales tally this year, saying it would be a year of consolidation for the company.

She said that while some models such as Golf were in run-out, good supplies had been promised for the rest of 2013.

Last year, VW sold a record 54,835 vehicles – up 22.6 per cent on 2011 – despite a 6.0 per cent decline in Golf sales, which fell to 17,289 units.

However, VW more than made up for that with big gains in sales of its Amarok ute and Polo light hatchback, up 154 per cent and 36 per cent respectively.

Despite predictions this time last year that Skoda might double its volume again in 2012 after achieving the feat in 2011, the Czech brand flatlined with zero growth last year, on 3502 sales.

Ms Koeckler said VGA had taken the decision not to compete on price with Skoda in an increasingly competitive market late last year, instead concentrating on building the brand.

She said the market had become increasingly aggressive in the second half of 2012, and VGA had taken the decision not to go toe to toe with Renault, Citroen and Peugeot.

However, with the new Rapid small liftback hatch and larger Octavia set for launch this year, Skoda sales are expected to lift in 2013.

Ms Koeckler said she was upbeat about VW's sales performance, saying: “Things could not be better. And we are looking forward to doing even better over the next couple of years.”

VGA has confirmed that the Golf will get VW's BlueMotion fuel-saving technologies at launch, but the new Golf R – which will make its first appearance at this year's Geneva motor show – will not appear until 2014.

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