The updated Volkswagen Golf range, which will be unveiled next month, will be have the number of options and variants rationalised as part of the company’s push to improve its profitability.
It’s not entirely clear what type of alterations will be made, but it’s possible that the vast range of drivetrain options will be pared back, with some variants phased out in favour of a new mild hybrid setup using a 48V electrical system.
The British magazine understands that Diess has been pushing the company’s engineers to strip away cost from the allegedly over-engineered MQB component set that underpins the Golf, as well as practically every new Volkswagen, Skoda and Seat vehicle released in the last few years.
Diess has also been pushing for a better and more flexible deal with its labour unions, as well as placing a greater emphasis on SUVs, which are not only more profitable, but have a global appeal unmatched by other body styles.
The push to make the Golf cheaper has been spurred by Volkswagen’s profit margin falling to just 1.4 per cent during the first half of 2016.
A lot of the blame for this fall can be attributed to the Dieselgate emissions cheating scandal. The Volkswagen Group has formally set aside 16.2 billion euros ($23.2 billion) to deal with the saga’s various costs, as well as agreeing to a US$14.7 billion ($19.3 billion) settlement with US authorities.
Things will only get tighter now, as the company is investing around $2.4 billion in the new MEB electric vehicle platform, which will a spawn a raft of new EV models and which was previewed by the ID concept unveiled at the recent Paris motor show.
Above: Facelifted Volkswagen Golf R prototype.
Earlier this month the company confirmed that the revised Golf range will make its debut in November this year. That means that the update Golf range probably won’t start entering local showrooms until some time during the first half of 2017.