German marque commemorates production milestone for its iconic hatchback, ahead of the eighth-generation model's debut later this year.

The Volkswagen Golf is celebrating its 45th birthday this week, having officially commenced production in Wolfsburg on March 29, 1974.

With 35 million units sold globally in the time since, Volkswagen says a Golf has been ordered "every 41 seconds" since 1974, equating to an average of 780,000 units per annum.

Seven generations have launched over those four and a half decades, with the Mk8 due to be revealed before the end of this year.

In addition to the Wolfsburg plant, which still produces the iconic hatchback to this day, the Golf is manufactured at five facilities across the globe across Germany, Brazil, China, and Mexico, and exported to 155 nations.

Since its humble beginnings as a replacement for the original Beetle, the Golf has since grown from the 'people's car' to a 'premium for the people' offering, challenging rivals from mainstream and luxury segments, including the related Audi A3.

Here's a look at how the Golf has evolved over the years, let us know which is your favorite!


First generation (Mk1): 1974-1983


Second generation (Mk2): 1983-1991


Third generation (Mk3): 1991-1997


Fourth generation (Mk4): 1997-2003


Fifth generation (Mk5): 2003-2008


Sixth generation (Mk6): 2008-2012


Seventh generation (Mk7 & Mk7.5): 2012-present


Eighth generation (Mk8): Coming soon