Around 50 activists from environmental group Greenpeace picketed the debut of Volkswagen's newest Golf hatchback in Berlin's New National Gallery on Tuesday, claiming that the German carmaker has done too little to cut fuel consumption. Wolfgang Lohbeck, Greenpeace's German transportation expert, told Reuters that VW holds a unique responsibility since the Golf distinguishes the compact segment for the next 10 years worldwide and it establishes the benchmark for its class. According to Lohbeck, VW had the expertise to produce a car, of which the basic version offers better fuel economy than the 4.9 liters of fuel per 100km vowed by the seventh-generation Golf. Lohbeck urged the German carmaker to set a target fuel consumption of 3.0 liters per 100km for the Golf.
He described the actual consumption figure of the new Gold as lame and disappointing. Lohbeck remarked that the possible 2013 rollout of an electric version of the Golf would not matter since it won't “comprise the bulk of the volumes,” adding that what is important is the basic petrol version. Volkswagen Group chief executive, Martin Winterkorn dismissed Greenpeace’s protest, saying the Golf was the "right answer for rising fuel prices."
Winterkorn said the Golf also has derivatives like the upcoming Golf Blue Motion, which consumes just 3.2 litres of diesel per 100km. The seventh-generation Golf will retain the starting price of its predecessor at EUR16,975 ($21,300). The Golf is the only VW model that the carmaker produces on four continents and is a vital part of its strategy to surpass Toyota as the world's largest carmaker.