As cars become increasingly more complex, delays are inevitable.
We were originally supposed to see the new Volkswagen Golf break cover at the 2019 Frankfurt Auto Show, but its debut has since been pushed back to allow the automaker to iron out a few kinks. Instead, VW will focus on the world debut of the new electric I.D. hatchback production model at the show.
According to Automotive News, the eighth-generation Golf will now go on sale in Europe at the end of February. Specifically, VW brand chief Juergen Stackmann told the publication that the Golf's launch is scheduled for the ninth calendar week of next year, which begins on February 24. Unsurprisingly, it will launch first in Germany, with other European markets following soon after. Traditionally, VW models launch a year earlier in Europe, so we probably won't see a US launch until early 2021.
As for the cause of the delay, Stackmann confirmed rumors that software issues are to blame. "We've never hid the fact that software, an area of extreme importance for products in the future, is a serious challenge for us," Stackmann said. "We have our homework ahead of us, and the teams are under heavy pressure."
Specifically, a lot of the problems faced by engineers are because of the new Golf's ability to update its software over the air, which Tesla has been doing for years now. Consequently, this makes it more vulnerable to hackers. "Due to their online connectivity there is a lot more software especially in the area of security, which is a real challenge since the car is no longer a closed ecosystem," Stackmann said.
Apparnetly there are already ten times more lines of code in the latest Golf than in a smartphone, but it is not just the complexity in the vehicle that causes problems. "A customer might get angry if their smartphone doesn't work, but you do a debug the next day. A car is different - if something goes wrong it can become critical, so the security requirements are far higher," Stackmann said.
The Golf is VW's best-selling model, so the automaker will want to prevent the new eighth-generation model from having a disastrous launch at all costs.