Volkswagen might be feeling a pinch of pressure as it amps up to launch its next-gen Golf.
No matter what it says, the German maker is under the microscope to get the eighth-generation model right. But a delayed launch that sees the model’s reveal pushed out to next year sometime points to potential snags at Wolfsburg.
Confirming reports that it has cancelled the model’s debut at the 2019 Frankfurt motor show in September, the maker says that tighter wallets around Christmas time will deflate the Golf’s chances of success, though it’s fair to assume the 82-year-old company would already have its head around launch timing with clear farsightedness.
"We think it's better to come early next year with a full-throttle offensive,” explained VW sales and marketing director, Jürgen Stackmann to Automotive News.
“It doesn't have anything to do with production. It's a sales decision since you don't try to put cars under the Christmas tree when no one is paying attention.”
But according to a report by European newspaper Bild, boardroom sources have said that there are technical bugs to resolve. Key might be German rival Mercedes-Benz putting its thumb on a technological pressure point, with its new A-Class hatch a technology-laden delight.
VW’s new Golf reportedly rides on a modified version of the MQB platform with 48-volt hybrid drivetrain options, and adds full-digital displays and constant cellular connectivity to rival Mercedes-Benz’s MBUX infotainment system. Interior controls for items such as the wipers and headlights are also reported to have changed to touchscreen controls.
Last year, VW small car boss Karlheinz Hell confirmed the new Golf would be a major step forward.
"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."
But for kerb appeal, the Golf is only an evolutionary change, with a familiar face housing thinner LED headlights and grille. As such, the all-electric, all-new VW ID Neo that was to debut alongside the Golf won’t steal its thunder.
All is not lost for local fans of the popular badge, with VW Australia confirming to Wheels that it is still on time to launch the Mk8 Golf here in the third-quarter of 2020. And better yet, is that the both the hot GTI and even hotter R will arrive before that year’s end.
“We’re still on track for early Q3 2020 at which time we’ll launch GTI together with the broader range with R to follow later in the year,” said a spokesperson.