Wolfsburg (dpa) - It was a big show. Just over seven years ago, a certain Martin Winterkorn emerged from the then brand-new Golf 7 in the flare of lightning from the Neue Nationalgalerie in Berlin.
VW had rented the famous art museum to present with much pomp and pathos the latest version of his bestseller. Since then, key parts of the leadership have been replaced, "Dieselgate" shook not only Volkswagen, the whole car world was in a change. Today, people try to be more modest in appearance.
The managers come and go - the golf stays. Instead of an opulent event in the capital, there will be a home game this time: Next Thursday (24 October), the "world premiere" will rise in the Wolfsburg Autostadt, the core brand's delivery center. At the announcement VW does not save again with strong words. An "icon" is the Golf, no less than the "heart of the Volkswagen brand".
The model has a central function throughout the Group. The Golf 7 introduced the Modular Transverse Toolbox (MQB) as a platform for other compact cars, too. Thanks to this strategy, Volkswagen has achieved significant savings and uniform technical standards. The 8er should build on it. "The product launch of the upcoming Golf generation is next to the ID family the most strategically important," said brand CEO Ralf Brandstätter.
When the electric car series goes into production at the converted Zwickau plant in November, much is at stake. VW puts billions in the e-mobility, a sufficiently high demand for the ID is in the longer term, however, not yet agreed. As the golf must be the most important mass model to secure the classic home business.
"It's the Volkswagen par excellence, the founder of the class of compact vehicles," says Stefan Reindl. The Director of the Institute for Automotive Industry (IfA) in Geislingen believes that the image of the entire brand largely depends on the model: "In this respect, the new Golf already sit." It is true that VW finally "full throttle towards E -Mobility »- but this does not happen overnight. "So you still need this golf."
The dimension in question becomes clear when you look at all the sales since the launch of the first edition in 1974: Worldwide, VW has released about 36 million golf. According to planning status 2018, at least 1.8 billion euros flowed into the development of the new generation.
The fact that nothing should go wrong with the indispensable "bread and butter model" had already become clear in the spring. Reports made the round, according to which there should be quality problems just in the on-board electronics. Here, assistance systems and digital networking in the Golf 8 are a focal point - who, as announced by CEO Herbert Diess himself, wants to "set new standards in the volume segment" should not let anything get burned here.
In April, the "mirror" reported that the car should initially be produced in smaller quantities. Accordingly, the Golf 8 is only the end of the year with a stripped-down technology at the start, some electronic functions will come later.
VW conceded a flatter start-up curve - Production Manager Andreas Tostmann confirmed at the end of September, based on revised plans but on the level: "We will this year already make a lot of quantities." At the same time, the all-electric ID family during the slow departure from the internal combustion engine be built up in the long term to become the key source of revenue and profit for the core brand.
Already, the Group is trying to strike many remaining electric golf before the big e-offensive low. According to a discount study of the CAR institute of the University of Essen-Duisburg, the battery-powered 7 Series is currently being pushed into the market at high discounts. With traders on the Internet, the industry observers found offers that come with government funding to a final consumer price of just over 20,000 euros. Usually the electric car costs 31,900 euros.
When 8er it should be no gasoline engine, diesel and natural gas engines pure electric drive more, but only hybrids. A "mild hybrid", which will support the burner and bring 10 percent fuel savings, is gradually being used in other models. It looks like the Golf 8 is the last big fossil cash cow for VW before the startup of the ID family - and before the conversion of other factories like Emden, Hanover as well as some sites in China and the US for the exclusive e-car production.
In terms of digitization, the car is to usher in the future of the industry. The Golf 8 is constantly on the net. All instruments are digital, an infotainment display and projections in the field of vision of the driver to chase competitors such as the BMW 1 Series or the A-Class from Daimler customers - if technically everything runs from the beginning.
And because the EU's stricter CO2 targets are starting to come into effect next year, the burners in the mass model must become more efficient than their predecessors. In this regard, Volkswagen seems to be almost doomed to success in the long-term box-office hit Golf.