According to a senior source inside Volkswagen of America, the German automaking giant is considering bringing production of the next generation Golf to North America. But why? And where?

The reason behind the potential move is obvious: Shifting some of the assembly from Wolfsburg, Germany to North America has the potential to save hundreds of millions of dollars over the lifetime of the next Golf. The budget-minded hatch is due for a major overhaul in the next few years, and lining up another NA-based production center would go a long way towards bringing VW's production capacity up to achieve its goal of selling 15 million vehicles worldwide by 2018.

With its Puebla, Mexico facility building the new Jetta and ramping up production of the new Beetle, its output could be tapped out if the reborn Bug proves to be a sales success in the States. And VW probably won't expand its Mexican production operations, leaving its new Chattanooga, Tennessee plant, which is currently producing the Passat.

The facility in Tennessee is presently capable of producing 150,000 vehicles per year, but as VW officials have previously confirmed, there's plenty of potential to expand the plant. And we're sure Tennessee would welcome the extra investment.

One thing that won't happen – we've been assured – is a diluted and cut-price NA-specific Golf to compete on the low-end of the segment – even if production shifts to this side of the planet.
Regardless of where it's built, the next Golf will be a global model, unlike the current Jetta.


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  • 30 Comments
      Leather Bear
      • 3 Years Ago
      I understand that there's plenty of vacant land available for a new VW plant in Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania.
        AnthonyL
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Leather Bear
        I drive a GTI, and live in Westmoreland County.... They should hire me to run the plant, and by run the plant I mean just get paid a ton of money and make special edition GTI's for the US market!
        BG
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Leather Bear
        Oooh, that;s nasty. I suspect many folks don't remember how badly the previous experiment in making the Golf here turned out.
          Leather Bear
          • 3 Years Ago
          @BG
          @BG: Exactly the reason for my comment. I had an '81 Rabbit Diesel pickup made at the old Pennsylvania factory, and it was a fine vehicle (in theory). The numerous niggles (and a blown head gasket) I just chalked up to it probably being a "Monday" vehicle. However, the final straw was when the bypass hose opened up like a zipper and dumped the entire load of coolant so fast that the temp gauge didn't have time to register a problem before the engine was just so much scrap metal. THAT incident soured me on VW (any VW!) for the past 25 years. However, things change, and VW's reliability seems to be improving (witness Consumer Reports rating the reliability of some late model VWs right up there with Toyota and Honda). I might even consider another VW (but only if the Polo makes it stateside).
          jrwGTI
          • 3 Years Ago
          @BG
          your right last time the built the golf/rabbit here it didn't go too well, but i do have an 82 rabbit diesel that i really like.
      LordBass
      • 3 Years Ago
      I'm in a Mexican-built Jetta V and it's been just fine. A German-built model wouldn't feel any different. There's a lot of what-if in this story, but I welcome a US-built Golf. With rumors of a new, more efficient base motor (1.8T) to replace the 2.5, it could help US sales, which are already up. If this can all happen by the time I replace my Jetta, count me interested.
      MyerShift
      • 3 Years Ago
      Halleluja for not dumbing down Golf if they build it here!
      KAG
      • 3 Years Ago
      From a VW owner on my third car I was VW would work on build quality. The interior is great in mine, just sick of things failing so soon.
        A Danforth Wilkins
        • 3 Years Ago
        @KAG
        As a BMW fanboy, I love the Golf (especially the TDI), but good grief the build quality is way off.
      Albert Ferrer
      • 3 Years Ago
      The Jetta already is a world model. Just designed with the US in mind.
      jrwGTI
      • 3 Years Ago
      I'm all for it, as long as the reliability doesn't drop! If they choose to build it in America I hope they can drop the price here a little.
      Lukasz Pludowski
      • 3 Years Ago
      a german car that is not build in germany is no longer a german car, the quality of the products drops, it breaks down a lot.... Let's just hope they will never make cars and import them here from China
      Kevin Leung
      • 3 Years Ago
      Noo...NOOOOOOOOOOOO. My German-built Golf MKVI is practically perfect in terms of quality control, a far cry from the horror stories I've heard about Volkswagens past. I may not invest in another Golf if it's built on this side of the Atlantic, even in Tennessee.
        Leather Bear
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Kevin Leung
        For those that are worried where their next VW might be assembled, the Puebla plant appears to have overcome its previous reputation. Consumer Reports has rated the reliability of recent model years of the Puebla-assembled Golf 2.5L and Jetta 2.5L as "better than average" or "much better than average" (their highest rating), equaling or surpassing many competitors from Japanese or Korean companies.
        munkymonkjr
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Kevin Leung
        I wouldn't be so quick to doubt US-based manufacturing. When Hyundai moved the Sonata from S.Korea to Alabama in 2005, the quality has significantly improved (although the Korean-built Elantras have always been rock solid since 2002, and only recently started production in AL and GA so too soon to tell how that effected the quality). Toyota's KY, TX, and formerly CA built products are doing OK. Nissan's TN plant does very good work (although the MS one is plagued with problems). Subaru's Indiana facility is great. VW's (and just about any elses) Mexican operations do have problems though. So as long as the next Golf isn't built in Pueblo, I don't care.
        JaredN
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Kevin Leung
        My German-built MKIV Golk VR6 was a complete POS. I can't remember all the things that failed on that car in the first 40,000 miles: - rear shocks and shock top mounts replaced twice, and needed to be replaced again when I sold it at 40k. - starter motor - spark coil, plugs and wires - A/C condensor - thermostat - rear brakes at 15k miles - turn signal stalk - almost all running lights And they never did fix the 2nd gear grind. I doubt any of those problems were caused on the final assembly line.
          JaredN
          • 3 Years Ago
          @JaredN
          DVanos: First, my Golf VR6 was made in Wolfsburg, not Brazil. Second, the parts that went bad were not made in Brazil. Third, the parts that went bad were mostly made by suppliers in German factories. Fourth, they didn't go bad because the workers on the final assembly line screwed them together wrong. Try using just a tiny bit of logic next time you comment.
          Dvanos
          • 3 Years Ago
          @JaredN
          That model Golf was made in Brazil if I can remember and know for horrible quality. So yes you can say some were cause by the final assembly location.
      GLX4Motion
      • 3 Years Ago
      I've had a 2002 VW Passat since new that was built in Wolfsburg and I'll just say that I don't think German assembly makes a bit of difference in terms of build-quality. I've had all the normal VW issues - broken plastic components (that should have been metal), faulty wiring, ridiculous repair costs - and this is due to design flaws (or value-minded decisions) not assembly issues. While I agree that the current Jetta is horribly decontented, I don't think the Mexican assembly is the issue. It's VW's incessant cost cutting. Previously the cost cutting happened in places you didn't see (like the window and door lock assemblies and under the hood), but they've now gone one step further and cut costs on the interior. Let's just hope the keep the Golf as-is and simply assemble it in Mexico.
        th0mb0ne
        • 3 Years Ago
        @GLX4Motion
        The German built VW's are all assembled by Turkish immigrants anyway. At the end of the day it's all about top down quality control and good engineering....I don't think you can blame it all on the guy who screws the part in when the part itself is already sub-optimal.
        Pdexter
        • 3 Years Ago
        @GLX4Motion
        As a Swede reading the horror stories here by mostly Americans and the image VW got there i can't believe there's no difference. VW does not have the same image here at least, and if it did something like Golf simply could not be the most sold car in Europe.
      tenspeeder
      • 3 Years Ago
      If the quality is good and the inside remains Jettacrap-free and the price drops then bring it to TN! More US jobs which is always a good thing. Just keep the UAW out.
      Justin Campanale
      • 3 Years Ago
      PLEASE for the love of God don't turn it into another Jetta. It is fine if it's built in the States to lower the cost to a more Mazda3/Impreza level, but keep the driving dynamics and interior that make the current Golf stand out in its class. And work on a competitive, DI, 150+hp, 40 mpg base engine for the Golf around 1.7-2.1 liters. The 2.5 engine should be refreshed by a new five cylinder engine with DI and at least 190 hp and 2.2-2.6 liters.
        jrwGTI
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Justin Campanale
        If you would read the article it says that VW promises that it's not going to cheapen the golf for the us market, the golf is still going to be a global vehicle exactly the same as it is in Europe except for the engine choices as it is now.
      dmtheteacher
      • 3 Years Ago
      I have a 2011 Golf, its my 2nd VW. Neither have given me any problems. If they turned it into a North American version like the Jetta, VW would have most definitely lost a repeat customer.
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