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Volkswagen says manual performance cars won’t return

By Chris Thompson, 08 Nov 2018 News

Volkswagen manual performance cars will not return news

Speculation about limited edition manual models quelled by local product managers

After Volkswagen announced it was cutting the manual gearbox from its standard range, speculators expected there would be an occasional limited edition manual version of the Golf GTI or R to keep purists on the hook.

The 2019 Volkswagen Golf GTI now incorporates the specifications of the Performance Edition GTI introduced in 2017, with 180KW, a limited-slip differential, and 7-speed wet-clutch DSG as standard.

There’s no option for a manual gearbox now, and it seems that’s the way it’s going to be from here on.

VW Australia product marketing manager Jeff Shafer tell MOTOR that despite enthusiasts lamenting the demise of the third pedal, sales don’t reflect that.

“With the manual, we don’t expect it to return in the Golf range or performance range, certainly in terms of the sales being overwhelmingly DSG at the moment.

“I think it’s unlikely we’ll see it return even if it’s only for a small run.”

While Shafer concedes it’s a shame the Golf won’t likely don the manual gearbox in the future, he says the production of a small run of special edition GTIs or Rs with manual ‘boxes wouldn’t be economically viable.

“The costs and process for approving a run of 100 cars is the same as it is for 100 cars, or 10,000.”

He adds that cars made like this would need to be unreasonably expensive to make up for the production costs.

Earlier this year, when the WLTP (Worldwide Harmonized Light Vehicles Test Procedure) began to change the way emissions are tested, VW Australia marketing manager Ben Wilks explained the reasoning for the transition to the LSD-equipped GTI becoming the standard version.

"Change brought about by the advent of Worldwide Harmonized Light Vehicles Test Procedure in Europe is one of the major challenges confronting European brands in this market, but we were able to take advantage of this situation to improve the best-selling car of its type.

"This GTI embodies what customers want."