Volkswagen managers must ensure that they launch the latest-generation Golf by the end of this year, CEO Herbert Diess said in an internal meeting.
Speaking at the Global Top Management Conference before 500 senior managers from all brands and regions, Diess said the VW brand was in the middle of preparing for series production of the eighth-generation compact hatchback.
“Currently we are fighting hard with the ramp-up,” Diess told them. “We will meet our deadline and deliver the first vehicles at the end of this year.”
Along with improved profitability for the model line, Diess said a good ramp-up was one of the two criteria he had set for the team behind the vehicle, led by Karlheinz Hell.
In developing the new generation of the Golf, Europe's best-selling car, software glitches have bedeviled engineers, in large part because the Golf will have the ability to be updated over the air. This, however, exposes the vehicle to hacking and requires more extensive cybersecurity measures be taken.
In addition, the new Golf software is more complex than its predecessor, with 100 million lines of code versus just 10 million for a new car sold 10 years ago.
In April, VW brand sales chief Juergen Stackmann said his team was preparing for a launch in late February. In March, while acknowledging the software problems, Stackmann said rolling out the car in December risks the Golf’s going unnoticed among customers more interested in shopping for Christmas presents than new cars.
Sources at VW have since said on background that the company was rushing to meet the internal deadline for delivery by the end of this year, but so far the company has offered no definitive word.
During his report to shareholders at the annual general meeting in May, Diess only went so far as to confirm an October date for the car’s presentation to the global motoring press.
The Golf aims to set the benchmark for its class in connectivity, with a fully digital cockpit standard in all models, along with a smaller carbon dioxide footprint, VW executives say. The hatchback will be offered with a lower-carbon powertrain running on compressed natural gas, alongside diesel and gasoline engines.
Additionally, a 48-volt mild hybrid will debut for the first time, and the range on the Golf plug-in hybrid should increase to 80 km (50 miles) from 50 km.
The Golf kept its position as Europe's topseller in the first four months, with volume falling 13 percent to 149,016 compared with the same period last year, according to JATO Dynamics market researchers. The No. 2 seller was the Renault Clio, whose sales rose 7.5 percent to 122,405, followed by the VW Polo at No. 3 with sales up 3.4 percent to 103,592.