America's roads are finally getting the long overdue fifth-generation Volkswagen Golf, and already there's talk of its demise. The new-look hatchback began arriving Stateside in GTI trim in February, but it has been navigating European roads since 2003. And now there's talk that a replacement will hit showrooms beginning in the fall of 2008. Of course, that version is likely to take a while to filter over to U.S. shores, but pulling forward the sixth-generation Golf by two years has been deemed necessary for profitability's sake.
According to AutoWeek's article, a source within the company has pegged the current iteration as "horrendously expensive to produce," and currency fluctuations are also putting a crimp in per-unit profits. That's easy to believe if Wolfgang Bernhard's statement about its built times is accurate: "For the production of the Golf in Wolfsburg we require two-and-a-half times the number of hours required by the best of the competition." The aim with the sixth will be to improve streamline production costs and times, but VW will need to be careful about decontenting and quality-control if it intends to stay competitive.
Read more about the future design and hardware direction of the next Golf by clicking through to the article.
[Sources: AutoWeek; Volkswagen]