Automotive News Europe - February 2020 - 8

AUTOMOTIVE NEWS EUROPE

 

COVER STORY

the Golf's infotainment system alone is
comparable to that of an entire car sold in
2010. This helped catalyze VW's decision
to develop its own software stack in the
future via a new subsidiary that opened
its doors last month. "There are a hundred
million lines of code in the Golf, roughly as
many as you find in an Airbus 320," VW
brand COO Brandstätter told reporters during the car's debut last year.

If you look
at the age of
the average
German, it's
virtually identical
to that of
a Golf owner.

Dimming prospects
There are early signs, however, that the
new Golf may struggle. Figures show its
predecessor's retail sales, after peaking
in 2015 at 1.06 million cars, twice as
many as the Tiguan at the time, dipped below the SUV for the first time last year. The
Tiguan is now VW brand's global bestseller and is poised to retain the crown as
more and more assembly sites are added
for the SUV, the latest in Jakarta, Indonesia. For that reason, the base version of
the Golf is being removed from the U.S.
market and production has been centralized in Wolfsburg to better preserve the
plant's capacity utilization. The only other
location where the Golf will be assembled
is in Foshan, China, by FAW-VW, one of
the group's two main joint ventures in the
world's largest auto market.
To keep a lid on costs, investments in Golf
production were halved to a figure in the
mid-hundreds of millions of euros. Roughly
80 percent of the existing equipment in
the body shop could be reused because
the MQB platform was largely carried over
from the seventh-generation model. Average manufacturing time was cut by an
hour, an improvement of about 4 percent,
despite adding a further 100 meters of cabling. VW also killed the less popular twodoor version to reduce complexity.

VW brand sales boss Jürgen Stackmann

peak sales of about 630,000 units next
year, excluding roughly 60,000 units of
the Sportsvan variant of the seventh-generation Golf. This would represent a material drop over the 702,000 sold in 2019
- itself an annual decline of 16 percent.
On a like-for-like basis, this translates to
about 4.5 million units sold over the lifetime of the new Golf, or 1 million fewer
than its predecessor. "The market continues to see a clear shift toward SUVs, and
particularly within the VW brand the likes
of the T-Cross and T-Roc have only served
to apply further downward pressure to
conventional vehicles' market share, like
the Golf," Poskitt said. 

Superior successor?
There's no guarantee the latest Golf iteration will not be the last. The decision
late in 2015 to develop a purpose-built
MEB electric architecture may have
sealed the car's fate. VW didn't want a
successor to the full-electric e-Golf that
has been built for nearly six years, rather
it set out to design a whole new model.

with starting from scratch, they created
a very different car in terms of looks and
proportions - one that in many ways
promises to be far superior.
The ID3 battery-electric compact
hatchback due this summer threatens
to eclipse the Golf as the brand's new
technology centerpiece in Europe. At its
heart is the new end-to-end electronic
architecture called E cubed that has
much higher data transfer rates than
the new Golf's CAN-FD system, allowing, for example, the ID3 to offer a new
augmented-reality windshield.
The e-Golf, which will be discontinued,
has accounted for more than 100,000
sales since its launch in 2014. Its de
facto replacement should surpass that
figure in its first full year of availability.
"The ID3 is compact like the Golf, agile
like the Up, offers the space of a midsize
car and the punch of a GTI," said Silke
Bagschik, head of sales and marketing
for VW's EV line.
While VW used its influence as sponsor
of the German national soccer team to
bring trainer Joachim Löw to Wolfsburg
for the Golf's premiere, Chancellor Angela Merkel carved out time in her busy
schedule to attend the start of production
of the ID3 in Zwickau. At this early stage,
however, EVs would never be able to deliver the volumes needed to keep a plant
such as Wolfsburg busy enough. The
world's largest interconnected automotive factory employs 8,400 people just to
build the Golf and its various derivatives.

"The Golf has seen challenges on a number of fronts, with this only set to intensify for the new generation," said Jonathon Poskitt, LMC Automotive's director
of global sales forecasts. He anticipates

What engineers and designers came up
with had a taller profile, enlarged rims
and a compressed front end where the
engine compartment is usually located.
With the newfound freedom that comes

Analysts argue that a diversification by itself is not necessarily bad, as it ends VW's
past dependence on the Golf for volume
and profits. Poor initial demand for the
fifth-generation Golf triggered a crisis for
the company, and its costly multilink rear
suspension was dropped as a standard
feature in the outgoing seventh-generation
Golf. While Schmidt believes VW has all
the resources it needs to keep the inevi-

GOLF IV - 4.99 million units sold

GOLF V - 3.4 million units sold

GOLF VI - 2.85 million units sold

1997-2003
8

www.autonewseurope.com

2003-2008

2008-2012
FEBRUARY 2020


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Automotive News Europe - February 2020

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Automotive News Europe - February 2020

Contents
Automotive News Europe - February 2020 - Intro
Automotive News Europe - February 2020 - Cover1
Automotive News Europe - February 2020 - Cover2
Automotive News Europe - February 2020 - 3
Automotive News Europe - February 2020 - Contents
Automotive News Europe - February 2020 - 5
Automotive News Europe - February 2020 - 6
Automotive News Europe - February 2020 - 7
Automotive News Europe - February 2020 - 8
Automotive News Europe - February 2020 - 9
Automotive News Europe - February 2020 - 10
Automotive News Europe - February 2020 - 11
Automotive News Europe - February 2020 - 12
Automotive News Europe - February 2020 - 13
Automotive News Europe - February 2020 - 14
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Automotive News Europe - February 2020 - 16
Automotive News Europe - February 2020 - 17
Automotive News Europe - February 2020 - 18
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Automotive News Europe - February 2020 - 20
Automotive News Europe - February 2020 - 21
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Automotive News Europe - February 2020 - 24
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Automotive News Europe - February 2020 - 33
Automotive News Europe - February 2020 - 34
Automotive News Europe - February 2020 - Cover3
Automotive News Europe - February 2020 - Cover4
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