Wolfsburg (AP) - Volkswagen introduces the latest version of the Golf. The group wants to unveil the eighth edition of its most important model in the evening at its headquarters in Wolfsburg.

The premiere is associated with high expectations: the Golf 8 plays this year in addition to the starting in November electric car ID.3 a central role for the largest carmaker in the world. In December, the compact car to come on the market.

The predecessor Golf 7 was presented in September 2012 by the then CEO Martin Winterkorn. Among other things, the model introduced the Modular Transverse Toolbox (MQB) as a platform for other vehicles at the core brand and other subsidiaries - by using equal parts, Volkswagen saved considerable sums and created uniform technical standards.

The 8-version is now mainly to advance digitization and networking. Brand Managing Director Ralf Brandstätter emphasized: "The launch of the next generation Golf is next to the ID family the most strategically important."

When the ID series goes into production at the converted Zwickau plant in November, much is at stake for VW. The company puts billions into e-mobility, but a sufficiently high demand is not yet identified on a longer term. As the most important mass model, the Golf should therefore continue to provide a reliable support for the classic main business.

It is true that VW now finally "full throttle in the direction of e-mobility," says Stefan Reindl, Director of the Institute of Automotive Industry (IfA) in Geislingen. But this does not happen overnight. "So you still need this golf."

Since the launch of the first edition in 1974, Volkswagen has sold around 36 million Golfs worldwide. According to planning status 2018, at least 1.8 billion euros flowed into the development of the new generation.

In April, the "mirror" reported that the car should initially be produced in smaller quantities. Reason should be problems with the electronics. Thus, the Golf 8 is only the end of the year with stripped-down technology at the start, some electronic functions will be added later.

VW conceded a flatter start-up curve - Production Board Andreas Tostmann confirmed at the end of September, but based on revised plans on the top: "We will already this year make a lot of quantities." With a pure electric motor, there will be no more golf. There are in addition to petrol, diesel and natural gas engines but various hybrid drives in the program. The suspension has been further developed according to VW, and there are several new assistance systems.

In the compact car segment, the Golf was the clear leader in new registrations in Germany. From January to July came according to Kraftfahrt-Bundesamt (KBA) 122,730 pieces on the road - more than a quarter of all vehicles registered in this class.