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VW Realizes People Want the GTI Name, not ‘GTX’ on Electric Cars

VW is backtracking on a plan to replace the iconic GTI name with GTX on its sporty electric cars.

byBeverly Braga|
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Well, that didn't last long. I hope you weren't attached to the idea of Volkswagen changing the iconic GTI name to GTX for its electric cars. But really: you weren't. And just like Mercedes moving away from calling all its EVs "EQ-something," VW has realized that changing decades-old naming conventions isn't the best way to get people accustomed to an electrified lineup.

In an interview with Autocar, Volkswagen COO Thomas Schäfer confirmed that the GTX name would be dropped from future EV models as the brand expands its electrified lineup to include GTI and R vehicles. "GTX is the performance brand of the MEB [platform], but we'll work our way back to GTI and R in the next products going forward," Schäfer told the outlet. 

Announced in 2019, GTX is (was?) a new sub-brand meant to differentiate the electric ID models. The "X" in GTX was a distinction that the vehicle had a dual-motor and all-wheel drive (i.e., performance-oriented). But intent and execution are two different things. And with the introduction of the single-motor ID.3 GTX, the meaning of X went out the window. 

Dropping a performance spec before it has time to gain traction sounds easy enough, especially with the GTI and R nomenclature ready in waiting. Aber ich spreche hier Deustch. Of course, it's going to get a little complicated. 

Schäfer acknowledges the importance of maintaining the performance legacy of GTI and R, but also admits it's not as black and white as he'd like. "The question is: how do we position GTI?," he said. "GTI is traditionally performance and front-wheel drive." Such was the case with the ID.GTI concept. But the modular MEB platform currently used for the ID series has a rear-wheel bias. GTI-X or GTIx perhaps?

At least the road for the R brand is more clearcut as it's been the VW definitive of "four-wheel drive performance" for the past 20 years. And although the automaker has yet unveil an electrified R model, concept or otherwise, the hi-po sub-brand will supposedly be EV-only by 2030. There is no timetable for when GTX will officially disappear, nor will currently badged models be renamed. So, for now, GTX lives on. Its most recent iteration is the ID Buzz GTX, which was unveiled in March. Not that Americans should get attached to the idea of a sports van either because VW isn't bringing it to the U.S. market. I guess we can't lose what we never had.

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