Volkswagen has fallen behind its global rivals in North America and so to increase its market share, it is now planning to start production in Mexico for its Golf hatchback. Starting in the first quarter of 2014, VW will produce the Golf at its plant in Puebla. VW spokesman Christoph Adomat said that Golfs assembled at this plant will be offered in North and South America.
Its production will supplement output of the model at VW's home base in Wolfsburg and in Zwickau in eastern Germany.
In a statement, Volkswagen's North America chief Jonathan Browning said that producing the Golf in the Puebla factory aids Volkswagen to hit its target of producing over 75% of the cars Volkswagen of America offers for sale in the North American region. This plan to build the Golf in Mexico is part of a strategy that seeks to spend $5 billion over the next three years in North America.
The growth in this area is crucial to CEO Martin Winterkorn's scheme to attain the title as biggest automaker in the world by 2018.
VW wants to build the Golf in Mexico to benefit from reduced labor costs and to protect itself from the unfavorable currency fluctuations between the dollar and euro. In a statement, Hubert Waltl, the head of production at VW's passenger car brand, said that Mexico is the “ideal location” for the Golf production because of its infrastructure, free trade agreements, and cost structures that are competitive.
Daniel Schwarz, an analyst with Commerzbank in Frankfurt, said that Volkswagen has lofty growth targets to meet and so it would have to localize production in order to realize those plans.
He added that the company can’t succeed in the mass-market segment if all they do is import cars. VW really has to expand outside its domestic market. In December 2012, VW’s Europe sales fell by 15%, contributing to the 1.1% decline in 2012. Because of the impact of the debt crisis, the European car market is predicted to decline for the sixth consecutive year in 2013.
The new Volkswagen Golf was launched in Berlin, Germany, more than three decades after the first model redefined successfully the small family car. Now on its 7th generation, the Volkswagen Golf builds on its predecessors’ success, after selling over 29 million units. The new VW Golf brings new levels of efficiency, safety, comfort, and practicality to the class.
Other than having more passenger room as well as having more advanced technological features, the new Golf also uses new production techniques, which contribute to the VW Golf Mk VII being lighter by 100 kg compared to the previous model, helping it become 23% more efficient. The new car is also a lot safer, thanks to its stronger body structure and to its standard and optional active and passive safety systems.
Additionally, the new VW Golf is built on the Modularer Querbaukasten or Modular Transverse Matrix platform. This platform standardizes many parameters for vehicle components, across classes and across brands. It also allows access to new technologies and new powertrains, including safety and infotainment innovations.
The new Golf has a length of 4,255 mm, which is 56 mm longer compared to its predecessor; a width of 1,799 mm, which is 13 mm wider; and a height of 1,452 mm, which is 28 mm lower. What’s more, it has a 59-mm longer wheelbase at 2,637 mm. Its front wheels, meanwhile, are 43-mm more forward, which helps it generate more interior space. These help to create a 10% improved drag co-efficient (0.27 Cd).
While the dimensions of the new Golf are larger, the car has an unmistakably VW Golf overall design, thanks to its design DNA, which has evolved through the years.
According to Walter de Silva, Volkswagen AG’s head of design, one of the core elements in the Golf's success is in its continuity. He noted that there are several cars carrying a design that has been tweaked, enhanced, and redefined over the years and have therefore become timeless, just like the Volkswagen Golf.