It's already dead in America. What about elsewhere?
The eighth-generation Volkswagen Golf is not sold in the US but its high-performance variants, the GTI and Golf R live on. For now. As long as there's a standard Golf hatchback to base them on, VW will keep both hot hatches going. But what if the rest of the world loses interest in the Golf and switches to the ID.3, corporate cousin of the ID.4. What then?
Top Gear posed this scenario to VW's head of sales and marketing, Klaus Zellmer, and he was surprisingly upfront. "I think for the foreseeable future the Golf [and the ID.3] will co-exist because the Golf is just too important. It's like a sub-brand. It's an icon," he said.
But, things are changing at a fast pace and VW may have no choice but to eventually alter its thinking. A ninth-generation Golf is definitely happening, though it's likely to be a plug-in hybrid only model. Beyond that is where things get hazy.
"If we ever see the speed of transforming from engines to purely battery-electric vehicles is building momentum sustainably, I can see - if we do not need a combustion car anymore - that we can use that badge to sell a battery-electric vehicle. This is years down the road," he added. As for the GTI's and R's future post-ninth-gen model, Zellmer couldn't provide a direct answer because there really isn't one right now.
What he did make clear is that the GTX moniker just introduced overseas for the ID.4 won't replace GTI (for now). "'GTI' is a performance sub-brand for the Golf, and in my opinion, we shouldn't dilute that with a battery-electric vehicle," Zellmer explained. "[GTX] should be completely different from a GTI or GTD or GTE - we want people to understand the branding they buy into, and GTX is going to be top-notch."
Revealed last week, the overseas-only ID.4 GTX is simply a premium equipment package with all-wheel drive and some light exterior modifications. For the time being, the Golf isn't going anywhere but we wouldn't be surprised if the GTI nameplate has a limited future.