Volkswagen has announced plans to spend £2.6bn on its factory in Wolfsburg in preparation for the arrival of the eight-generation Golf, which is likely to revealed towards the end of 2018 and go into production at the beginning of 2019.
The money will be spent on next-generation assembly facilities and the build of a new design centre in the technical development area at the Wolfsburg site. Volkswagen is also using the opportunity of an all-new generation of Golf to bring the whole production of the car under one roof, in order to cut down on build costs. That announcement was made last month as part of a range of announcements about future strategy for the company.
Volkswagen isn’t sharing any other details about the Golf 8. From the little info we have so far about the next car, we're expecting that it will be offered with a mild hybrid system to serve as an alternative for those who don't want to go for a diesel but are still looking for high efficiency. There was some discussion back in July emerging out of Germany that the new model would lose as much as 70kg thanks to an upgrade in the MQB platform the company uses to underpin the bulk of its range. The reports also said the changes would be more room inside the cabin and boot, to add practicality without increasing the car's footprint.
Even the entry-level Golf will apparently have a fully digital instrument display panel, as the Volkswagen Group gets ahead on the technology, while a fancy 3D head-up display will be among the available options. Rumour also has it that the GTE, GTI and R versions will all receive more power and Volkswagen has plans to improve the quality of the materials inside the cabin without affecting the prices.
Another titbit of information is that the 'Golf' name is apparently set to be written along the centre of the boot lid along the same lines as the recently launched Arteon.
Gallery: 2017 Volkswagen Golf GTI and R First Drive
Müller and Osterloh: "We came a long way in 2017. Now our job is to keep it up!"
- Volkswagen Group systematically implementing future program TOGETHER – Strategy 2025; successful launch of roadmap to e-mobility age and profusion of forward-looking projects
- Recently adopted planning round for period through to year 2022 heralds partial return to normality
- Major challenges remain despite good unit sales figures and robust financial situation
- "The issues of culture, compliance and integrity are embedded at the core of our enterprise" – Supervisory Board Chairman Pötsch
- "Volkswagen is moving forward again thanks to the hard work of its employees. That earns them the highest respect" – Works Council Chairman Osterloh
Speaking before workforce at the last works meeting in Wolfsburg for 2017, Matthias Müller, Chairman of the Volkswagen Group Board of Management, and Chairman of the Group and General Works Council, Bernd Osterloh, today took stock of a challenging year. On behalf of the entire Board of Management, Müller thanked all 630,000 employees worldwide in his speech for their dedication, loyalty and readiness to support the changes initiated. "2017 was a good year for the Volkswagen Group. It is the year Volkswagen shifted back onto the offensive," said CEO Müller. Osterloh made clear that the progress made is owed to employees, something which earned them "the highest respect."
The Volkswagen Group has made positive changes in many areas since TOGETHER – Strategy 2025 was presented. This was underscored by Chairman of the Volkswagen Group Board of Management, Matthias Müller, in his speech in Hall 11 of the Wolfsburg plant: "We have breathed life into our strategy, launching hands-on projects to implement it and breaking new ground in many areas. Above all, we presented Roadmap E, our roadmap for the electric age, and demonstrated how we want to make e-mobility attainable for all." Volkswagen plans to bring out more than 50 electric vehicles by 2025 and launch at least one electrified variant for each and every one of the 300 Group models by 2030.
Bernd Osterloh, Chairman of the Group and General Works Council, likewise gave a positive review of activities in 2017. He recalled the successes in implementing the Future Pact. "Given the impending upheavals in the automotive industry, the Works Council delivered on its responsibilities and together we forged the Future Pact. We are reaping the successes of the Future Pact today. Efficiency gains of €1.9 billion have been achieved so far. Volkswagen is also well on track with regard to partial early retirement. Over 8,000 colleagues have taken up the option of a partial early retirement agreement."
The Company is also racing into the future with regard to autonomous driving – such as with the Sedric, which is the center of attention at international motor shows. Group subsidiary MOIA is likewise making huge strides toward market readiness in the development of new mobility solutions, with a matching car model to be presented to the public in the near future. "Despite the diesel crisis, we have kept our sights firmly fixed on the future – not just with a view to tomorrow's focus areas, but also with regard to the vehicles and technologies with which we earn our money today and will continue doing so for many years to come," said Müller.
"In a great team effort," Volkswagen has successfully repositioned itself, made improvements in many areas, and tackled the major challenges confronting the Company in this difficult phase of its corporate history "with tremendous resolve and determination," said Hans Dieter Pötsch, Chairman of the Supervisory Board.
"First and foremost, we have worked to improve ourselves over the past two years, and continue to do so today. We have embedded the issues of culture, compliance and integrity at the core of our enterprise," Pötsch added. "We are already a different company today and will continue to change – with our new Group strategy based on central values and fair play," said Pötsch.
The end of crisis mode and a partial return to normality is also reflected in the recently adopted Planning Round 66, explained Müller: "For the first time since 2014, we have embraced a five-year plan, laying down the roadmap for products, plants and investment through to 2022." In the years ahead, the Company will invest more than €34 billion in e-mobility, autonomous driving, digitalization and new mobility services.
"The Supervisory Board has approved billions in investment for the Volkswagen brand in new products and in our plants. This means our future is secure – regardless of whether it is under electric or conventional propulsion. We will hold our own in the vanguard of the automotive industry," said Osterloh, announcing €3 billion in investment at the main plant in Wolfsburg. This includes funding for tooling up for the new Golf 8 and for implementing a new design center in Technical Development.
Thanking the workforce for their commitment despite the headwind, Osterloh said: "Volkswagen is moving forward again after the diesel crisis thanks to the hard work of its employees. That earns them the highest respect."
Despite excellent unit sales figures, a robust financial situation and an expected record in 2017, Group CEO Müller cautioned against excessive euphoria while making clear that the successes are no cause for self-satisfaction. "There are still major challenges and the diesel crisis is not yet overcome. We cannot allow ourselves to let up half-way there. We must continue to question ourselves and drive further change at Volkswagen. Only then can we join together in mastering the challenges that still lie ahead of us."
About the Group: The Volkswagen Group, with its headquarters in Wolfsburg, is one of the world's leading automobile manufacturers and the largest carmaker in Europe. The Group comprises twelve brands from seven European countries: Volkswagen Passenger Cars, Audi, SEAT, SKODA, Bentley, Bugatti, Lamborghini, Porsche, Ducati, Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles, Scania and MAN. The Group operates 120 production plants in 20 European countries and a further 11 countries in the Americas, Asia and Africa. Every weekday, more than 610,000 employees worldwide produce around 42,000 vehicles, and work in vehicle-related services or other fields of business. The Volkswagen Group sells its vehicles in 153 countries. With its "TOGETHER – Strategy 2025" future program, the Volkswagen Group is paving the way for the biggest change process in its history: the realignment of one of the best carmakers to become a globally leading provider of sustainable mobility.