Volkswagen Builds 30 Millionth Golf

By Jacob Brown | June 14, 2013
The little Volkswagen Golf is the best-selling car in the automaker's lineup, which you may not be aware of since that honor goes to the VW Jetta here in the U.S. Overseas, the model has been on sale since 1974, and after just under 40 years, it has reach the milestone of 30 million produced.
That puts it in very good company, right behind the Toyota Corolla and well ahead of the Volkswagen Beetle bronze medalist that's sold somewhere over 23 million in the years between 1938 and 2001 when it went out of production in Mexico. We're not sure if we should include the Golf-based New Beetle or current Bug in those tallies.
In fact, it was the Volkswagen Golf that replaced the Beetle when Volkswagen's sales were finally toppled by Toyota's on the international stage. The Golf, designed by Giorgetto Giugiaro--the same firm that designed the DeLorean DMC12 and first Lexus GS--was the first front-wheel-drive VW, and it took off at a time when small, economical cars were primed for success. Outside of its solid standard offerings, the Golf--also known as the Rabbit for a short time in the U.S.--was offered with as the hot GTI model with 110 horsepower. It was replaced in 1983 with the second generation, running until 1991. That model gained a catalytic converter and antilock brakes. The version after that was sold from 1991 to 1997 and offered the first turbocharged diesel engine of the car's life--a 90-horsepower, 1.8-liter unit in the U.S. It also had front airbags. Growing with the times, this generation gained a significant amount of size and weight in the name of safety.
Continuing from there, the diesel engine carried over in the U.S., as did a 1.8-liter four-cylinder with 115 horsepower, a 1.8-liter turbocharged engine with 170 horsepower and a slightly more powerful 2.8-liter narrow-angle V-6. It ushered in the return of all-wheel drive to the U.S. with the Golf R32, a high-horsepower model that slotted above the Golf GTI.
The "R" version of the Golf continued on in the next generation with V-6 power but later ditched the big engine for a 258-horsepower version of Volkswagen's turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder. And, for the first time, the Golf became available with a dual-clutch automatic transmission in the U.S. in high-performance versions. As the sixth generation of the vehicle winds down production after what is sure to be a shortened 2014 model year, the seventh is on its way, lighter, quicker, larger, and more fuel-efficient. Whereas the Golf was first built in Wolfsburg, Germany, moving to Pennsylvania in the early 1980s, and eventually staying put in Puebla, Mexico, the new Golf will be built in Mexico for our market again. This time, it is anticipated that even the Golf GTI will be made on our continent. The 30 millionth Volkswagen Golf made was a TDI Bluemotion, an ultra-efficient model we don't yet get in the U.S. Given the soaring popularity of diesel Volkswagens, though, we can't say that it's impossible to eventually see it wind up on our side of the pond. We'll know by mid next year when we get the seventh-generation Volkswagen Golf in the U.S. Source: Volkwagen