Fleet News

Golf Mk VI launch: the car and the strategy for 2009

The latest version of the Golf has been launched, as Volkswagen toasts a record market share in 2008.

With a range of new engines and equipment Volkswagen is confident the new MkVI Golf is a worthy successor in a model lineage stretching back to 1974.

Its confidence is buoyed by the fact the company's fleet and retail market share increased in 2008, from 8.2% the year before to 8.4%. In the final quarter of 2008 its share topped 9%.

Chris Craft, Volkswagen Cars director, told Fleet News Online: "Despite last year being such a difficult market for the automotive sector we enjoyed an all-time record market share.

"We are very positive about the future because we are launching the right products.

"The tougher the market gets, the stronger we become."

But when questioned in detail about 2009, Volkswagen's optimism is tempered by the worsening state of the UK car market.

Craft admitted car manufacturers dream of the sort of downturn suffered by Marks & Spencer last week.

The retailer revealed a 3.4% fall in Christmas sales. "With car and van registrations for all manufacturers down 21.2% in December, we dream of results like M&S's", Craft said.

Volkswagen believes the credit crunch could last until 2011 and despite the new Golf going on sale right at the start of 2009 it is forecasting registrations will be 15% down year-on-year from 65,029 units to 55,000 (excluding Bluemotion and GTI sales).

But Volkswagen has taken the bold step of increasing prices by £500 across the range.

The Mk VI Golf will start at £12,875 on-the-road for the 1.4-litre 80bhp three-door S spec model and reach £20,537 OTR for the five-door 2.0-litre 6-speed DSG GT TDI 138bhp diesel.

The mid-range 2.0 108bhp TDI SE is expected to take the biggest chunk of sales at 38%, helped by the fact it will hit 57.6mpg while emitting 128g/km of CO2.

As always with the Golf fleet sales will be extremely important with a 65/35 split on fleet and retail.

There’s two diesels available from launch, a new 2.0-litre TDI 108bhp and a higher powered 138bhp version.

Other diesel variants will follow later this year, including a 1.6-litre with 88bhp and a 2.0-litre with 168bhp.

Petrol engines comprise a 1.4-litre 78bhp, 1.6-litre 100bhp and two 1.4-litre TSI units with 120bhp or 158bhp.

Bookending the range will be the ultra low emission Bluemotion Golf and teeth rattling performance in GTI or diesel GTD guises from the summer.

Of interest to fleets will be two low CO2 emitting models available later.

One with CO2 emissions of 119g/km will be available in July and the second with 99g/km 'before the end of the year'.

A spokesman said it would know more about these two "in the next month".

  • Volkswagen Golf MkVI prices (pdf).

In the videos below Fleet News Online talks to Volkswagen national fleet sales manager Matthew Bowden.

The topics he addresses include:

  • the appeal of the new Golf to drivers, fleet managers and finance directors
  • how Volkswagen will help fleet decision-makers through a tough 2009
  • the impact of the economic crisis on operating cycles and residuals.

In the second video we take a tour of the Golf, looking at the new technological, cosmetic, entertainment and safety enhancements, including the boot badge mounted reversing camera. 

Video 1: Fleet News Online interviews Matthew Bowden


Video 2: Fleet News looks at the new features on the Mk VI Golf


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