2020 Volkswagen VW Golf Mk8 Release Delayed by Software Issues: Report

Given today's complex systems, even a humble economy car like the Golf requires massive amounts of code.

Volkswagen/ Auto Express

The Mk8 Volkswagen Golf was previously expected to debut at the 2019 Frankfurt Motor Show, but VW may have to push the unveiling back to a later date in 2019, according Automotive News. Software development issues are reportedly the cause of the delay, but the automaker is still aiming to put the next-generation Golf on sale in Germany on February 24, 2020.

In addition to writing the software itself, ensuring that it is secure and glitch-free are significant challenges. VW is also concerned about the regulatory implications of adding features to a car after the sale, according to the report, although Tesla has been regularly adding new features to its cars via over-the-air updates for years.

"We've never hid the fact that software, an area of extreme importance for products in the future, is a serious challenge for us," VW brand head J├╝rgen Stackmann said in an interview with Automotive News. "The Golf has ten times the number of lines of code as a smartphone."

The most challenging areas include over-the-air updates and other digital features. VW believes digital services will be a big part of its future business, and it's working with Microsoft to develop a cloud computing platform to support those services.

VW still plans to begin pilot production of the Mk8 Golf in Germany later this year, but targets have been scaled back, according to German news magazine Der Spiegel. Instead of the original 80,000 units planned to roll off the Wolfsburg assembly line before the end of 2019, just 10,000 units are now planned. Sales are still expected to begin in Germany in early 2020, followed by the rest of Europe.

Aside from the increased importance of software-driven functions, few other details of the Mk8 Golf have been revealed. As with most modern cars, some weight savings are expected, as well as more power for the Golf GTI hot hatchback. If the Golf doesn't make it to the 2019 Frankfurt Motor Show, VW is expected to shift attention to the I.D. electric hatchback, the first in a line of I.D.-family electric cars from the German automaker.