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VW tees off on Golf countdown

Sketchy: Volkswagen board member Ralf Brandstatter talks to parts suppliers about the next-generation Golf. In the background, the sketch might – or might not – provide a clue to the evolutionary design of Golf Mark 8.

Mid-2019 production launch planned for ‘benchmark’ Volkswagen Golf 8

24 Jan 2018

VOLKSWAGEN claims its next-generation Golf will be the benchmark for connectivity and safety, boasting a full-time internet connection, digital cockpit and extended autonomous driving functions.

The company has confirmed that the new model will go into production in mid-2019, with an Australian showroom arrival expected in the first half of 2020.

In a presentation on the new vehicle to 120 component suppliers in Germany, VW board member for procurement Ralf Brandstatter confirmed that VW’s biggest plant in its home town of Wolfsburg would remain the production capital for Golf, which is sold in 108 countries where it has racked up a record 35 million sales since being introduced in 1974.

The current Golf Mark 7 – launched in 2012 – is also built in Mexico, Brazil and Algeria, but VW is yet to say if those arrangements will remain for the next-generation Golf that is costing €1.8 billion ($A2.7b) to develop and bring to production.

The new Golf will be one of two momentous VW vehicle launches in the next two years, with the all-new ID family of electric cars also coming on stream by 2020.

In a sense, the ID hatchback will be a competitor for the Golf, with pricing promised to be about the same as a diesel Golf.

“Together with the ID family, the introduction of the upcoming Golf generation will be the most strategically important product launch for the brand,” Mr Brandstatter said.

Ultimately, VW expects ID to become VW’s biggest seller, perhaps with cumulative sales greater than either the Golf or the previous VW champion, the Beetle.

VW’s compact series group head Karlheinz Hell has been revealed as the main man behind the Golf Mk8, with responsibility to have all departments working together “in the optimum way”.

Mr Hell said the new model was designed to continue Golf’s attributes of design, economics, CO2 values, comfort and reliability.

“The next Golf will take Volkswagen into the era of fully connected vehicles with extended autonomous driving functions,” he said. “It will have more software on board than ever before.

“It will always be online and its digital cockpit and assistance systems will be the benchmark in terms of connectivity and safety.”

Although VW did not say so, one reason the Golf will have an internet connection is likely to be the need to feed and retrieve road information from the cloud under Here Maps’ traffic guidance systems – an essential step for safe autonomous driving.

While the technology might be advanced, the company’s designers appear not to be messing too much with the Golf’s long-established design concept, if a sketch shown in the background of image of Mr Brandstatter speaking at the summit is any guide.

The simple drawing shows the outline of a conventional two-box car with a vertical rear hatch, indicating an evolutionary exterior change, if indeed it is the next model.

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