Imagine the Volkswagen brand without the Golf. It’s like trying to imagine Apple without computers, or Kleenex without tissues.
But that could be on the cards, according to a report from German publication, Welt.
In an interview with the publication, newly appointed head of the Volkswagen brand, Thomas Schäfer, said that the coming Euro 7 emissions regulations set to kick in from 2025, will push up the price of internal combustion engine cars.
Mr Schäfer said the additional tech required to meet the strictest regulations yet would force the price of entry-level petrol and diesel cars up by about €3000 to €5000 (AUD$4400-$7300) each.
“With a small car, these additional costs can hardly be absorbed. So entry-level mobility with combustion engines will be significantly more expensive,” he told Welt.
“Individual mobility is a basic need and must remain achievable in the future.”
That means models like the internal combustion models like the Golf, and indeed the smaller Polo hatch, could be under threat.
Mr Schäfer believes that the solution to the increasing costs for ICE cars is a wider rollout and uptake of electric vehicles.
Volkswagen is well advanced in its global plans to increase its EV offering, with the ID family of models already on sale in many mature markets. An Australian launch is planned for 2023.
At the moment the models are mostly larger offerings like the ID.4, ID.5 and ID.6 SUVs, with the smallest being the ID.3 hatch, which is about the same size as a Golf.
There are plans for the VW brand to add two smaller EV models, including one dubbed the ID.2, while Skoda and Cupra will also roll out small, more affordable EVs in the coming years.
According to Mr Schäfer, the ID.2 will be sold for less than €25,000 (AUD$37,000) and have an electric driving range of about 350 to 400 kilometres.
Given that puts a question mark over a next-generation Mk 9 Golf, Mr Schäfer told the publication, “we will have to see whether it is worth developing a new vehicle that does not last the full seven or eight years,” he said.
Volkswagen is currently developing a mid-life update for the Golf Mk 8 that was revealed in late 2019 and went on sale in Australia midway through 2021.
According to Welt, it is yet to be decided whether VW will move forward with a Golf Mk 9, but Mr Schäfer added: “We will know more in twelve months.”
The previous Golf Mk 8 had a lengthy eight-year lifecycle with a major update arriving in 2017. Whether Volkswagen thinks it could still go ahead with a Golf Mk 9, but shorten its lifecycle, remains unclear.
This latest news follows VW’s announcement last year confirming next-generation versions of the long-standing VW models like the Golf and Passat, as well as newer SUV nameplates, the Tiguan and T-Roc.
The previous Golf was available in all-electric e-Golf guise in Northern and Western Europe, and the United States.