It's all-out war from here.
We already knew the eighth-generation Volkswagen Golf will not be sold in the US. The next Golf GTI is the sole exception. Another new reality is the German automaker's long-term commitment to all-electric vehicles, a process that got started not long after the Dieselgate scandal was exposed back in 2015.
Instead of pumping out Golfs at its Zwickau plant in Germany, it will now only build EVs. We knew this was going to happen but only now has the final VW Golf rolled off its assembly line, a seventh-generation Golf R Estate, aka a wagon.
"Today is a historic day for us," said Reinhard de Vries, Managing Director of Technology and Logistics at Volkswagen. "We are proud of what we have achieved so far, and at the same time are greatly looking forward to what the future holds for us. The trend towards electric mobility will continue to pick up speed. We will meet this demand from Zwickau: we have already created the capacity to build 330,000 vehicles next year."
The factory is now being turned into Europe's largest electric vehicle factory. A total of six VW Group vehicles will soon be built there, including the Audi Q4 e-tron, Volkswagen ID.3 and, for North America, the VW ID.4 crossover. The factory first opened in 1990 and has since built exactly 6,049,207 vehicles. Before the year wraps up, the factory's 8,000 employees will have completed a total of 20,500 days of training.
Building battery-electrics isn't quite the same as constructing ICE vehicles. The ID.3 was the first vehicle to roll off the production line, and will be followed by the ID.4 later this summer. Tesla is currently building a new factory outside of Berlin that's scheduled to open exactly one year from now. It will be tasked with assembling battery packs and powertrains as well as Tesla Model Y production.
Although they're located a few hours from one another, the Zwickau and Berlin factories will soon become direct rivals.