Declining sales figures
With more than 35 million units sold, the Golf series is hugely successful and has been the best-selling vehicle in Germany for decades.
However, the fat years are over. In 2020, during the Golf 8’s first full year of sales, only 136,324 new cars were registered in Germany. The following year, there were only 91,621 new registrations in Germany.
For comparison: in 2019 there were still 204,550 units. Part of the decline is due to Corona and delivery issues, the chip crisis and the war in Ukraine.
In the last three months of 2021, the Golf was no longer the first registration in Germany, but the T-Roc and the Opel Corsa. Throughout Europe, the Golf is slightly ahead of the Peugeot 208 and the Dacia Sandero. And the downtrend continues.
Another point that speaks against the Gulf: the taste of the time. In terms of new registrations in 2021 in Germany, the T-Roc (57,424 cars) and the Tiguan (55,527 cars), both SUVs, took second and third place. And despite a fundamental drop in sales during the crisis, the Golf is losing an above-average number of buyers compared to these two models.
Rising development costs for combustion engines
The regulations for thermal engine cars are increasingly strict, and this has consequences: the Euro 7 standard is expected in a few years. According to Schäfer, the prices of gasoline and diesel engines with the new emission standard are expected to increase by 3,000 to 5,000 euros.
According to VW brand boss Schäfer, cheap cars for around 10,000 euros new can no longer be implemented until then, because the development costs increase significantly. And whether the Golf is still worth it, which already costs well over 25,000 euros as a base model, is up for debate at VW.
Electric car competition
Purely electric: In terms of size, the ID.3 is the E version of the Golf. (Source: Volkswagen)
The biggest problem for the Golf: it represents an era that VW wants to leave behind. While the ID.3 and all other ID models use their own platform for electric drives, the compact has a combustion engine base.
This should be finished by 2026, when the last cars with combustion platforms should start. According to current plans, 2035 should be the end of the sale of new petrol and diesel cars throughout Europe. Some countries want to end sales early, which would also affect Golf sales.