In March 2021, Volkswagen was eager to announce that the Golf, T-Roc, Tiguan, and Passat would all get next-generation models. That statement might have been a bit premature in the case of the compact hatchback/wagon duo as the company’s newly appointed CEO remains cautious about the Golf’s future. In an interview with the German paper Welt, Thomas Schäfer said a decision about developing a ninth-generation model has not been taken yet.
Skoda’s former head honcho took the reins of the VW core brand on April 1 this year and is questioning the Golf’s future because of increasing costs with the development of cars equipped with combustion engines. Euro 7 regulations are expected to arrive in the coming years, and these will drive up the prices of an ICE-powered car by €3,000 to €5,000, according to Schäfer. He went on to say the end is nigh for €10,000 cars in Europe because making combustion engines comply with the stricter legislation regarding emissions will increase development costs.
VW’s top brass announced a mid-cycle facelift is being worked on for the current Golf, but an Mk9 is uncertain at this point. He pointed out that engineering a new ICE car that is unlikely to have the traditional life cycle of 7-8 years might not be worth it, adding it’s “extremely expensive” to develop Euro 7-compliant vehicles.
Reading between the lines, his statement about the Golf 9 not being sold for the full seven to eight years is related to the sales ban on new cars equipped with gasoline or diesel engines that will come into effect in the European Union in 2035. The current-generation model has been around since 2019 and is likely to receive a facelift in 2023/2024 that would be sold for another three to four years.
A potential Golf Mk9 would therefore arrive in 2027 or so, meaning its demise could coincide with the death of the ICE in the EU. Some Euro markets could decide to switch to EVs sooner than that, consequently impacting sales of the Golf by limiting its availability.
Thomas Schäfer said a final decision regarding whether there will be a ninth Golf will be taken in the next 12 months. He said that with small cars, it’s tricky to offset the higher development costs that come with Euro 7, so we can deduce the future is not looking great for the ICE-powered Polo supermini either. In fact, Audi has already said it will bid adieu to the mechanically related A1 after this generation, with the Q2 subcompact crossover also going the way of the dodo.