This VW Golf Generation Might Be the Last One, Says VW Brand CEO

Rising emissions standards will make small ICE cars more expensive, and that means the next-gen VW Golf is in jeopardy.
2022 VW Golf R
Chris Tsui

The current Volkswagen Golf could be the last model, according to the VW brand boss who said rising emissions standards and costs could drive the Golf to extinction.

Volkswagen Brand CEO Thomas Schäfer disclosed the news to Germany’s Welt, and said the VW Group sees internal combustion engines as cost-ineffective in the medium term. Schäfer says escalating Euro 7 emissions standards will effectively make all ICEs roughly $3,000 to $5,000 more expensive. That’ll sting most in the economy segment, where the Golf competes, which has led VW to backtrack on its certainty that there’ll be a next-gen Golf according to Motor1.

“With a small car, these additional costs can hardly be offset. So entry-level mobility with combustion engines will be significantly more expensive,” Schäfer said. Regarding a potential, upcoming ninth-generation Golf, he said: “We will have to see whether it is worth developing a new vehicle that does not last the full seven or eight years.”

2022 Volkswagen Golf R, Chris Tsui

VW is reportedly uncertain whether to commit to a Mk.9 Golf following the current Mk.8‘s mid-cycle refresh, which should tide the model over until the late 2020s. By then, the E.U.’s 2035 ICE sale ban will be on the horizon, as will the possibility of regional bans that could take effect sooner. Any lifespan reduction of the Mk.9 will worsen its business case, which apparently hasn’t yet been determined. “We will know more in 12 months,” Schäfer said.

By the time the Mk.9 would arrive, VW aims to have small EVs on the market around the price of the Golf, if not lower. In 2025, VW reportedly aims to have the ID.2 and another smaller EV out, as well as derivatives for its other brands, such as the potentially U.S.-bound Cupra. This doesn’t mean VW’s historic compact won’t have its place, but it’s starting to look like the Golf has run its course, and that it’ll have to tell EVs to play through.

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