Volkswagen has officially built 30 million Golf units since the first hatch rolled off the assembly line in early 1974. The company says the accomplishment has cemented the compact's place as the most successful European car ever built, though we imagine the original Beetle might have something to say about that. Even so, Volkswagen says that statistically speaking, the company has sold 2,000 Golf units for every day of production. Chew on that notion for a moment. The Golf has remained relevant over the past four decades thanks to a steady stream of generational updates, and last year, the Volkswagen Golf took the honor of being named the World Car of the Year.

A Golf TDI was the 30 millionth unit produced, and Volkswagen says the machine will be on display at the automaker's Wolfsburg facility. You can read the full press release below for more information, including a generational breakdown of each Golf model.
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VOLKSWAGEN CELEBRATES THE 30 MILLIONTH GOLF

World's 30 millionth Golf drives off the assembly line in Wolfsburg

'Car of the Year 2013' award presented in Wolfsburg


Wolfsburg, 14 June 2013: As landmarks go, this is a pretty big one: the world's 30 millionth Golf has rolled off the assembly line at the Volkswagen plant in Wolfsburg – a new production record for the most successful European car ever. Production of the original Golf began in early 1974. Since then, statistically speaking, an average of over 2,000 people have purchased a new Golf every day for the past 39 years. The 30 millionth car is a Golf TDI BlueMotion; this recently introduced model has a fuel consumption value of just 88.3 mpg, making it the most fuel efficient Golf ever built.

On Thursday, Prof. Martin Winterkorn, Chairman of the Board of Management of Volkswagen AG, also officially accepted the "Car of the Year 2013" award for the Golf conferred by the 60 member international jury for the highly esteemed award. Prof. Winterkorn commented on both of these events: "The history of the Golf is also the history of automotive progress. With technologies such as the safe front-wheel drive of the first Golf, the debut of the TDI in the third Golf, ESC (Electronic Stability Control) and the dual clutch gearbox of the fourth Golf and the standard Automatic Post-Collision Braking System of the new generation, this car has continued to democratise progress. An optimum of safety, comfort and driving fun are no longer a question of money thanks to the Golf. And so our bestseller lives up to the Volkswagen name." The milestone vehicle will be officially on display for employees of the Wolfsburg plant this coming Saturday at the plant's open day.

The seven Golf generations that wrote history.

Golf I (1974 to 1983): "It all began in 1974 with a revolution," is how Klaus Bischoff, Head of Design for the Volkswagen brand describes it. "The step from the Beetle to the Golf was revolutionary. A new vehicle layout was created with the conversion from an air-cooled rear engine to a water-cooled front engine and from rear-wheel drive to front-wheel drive. In terms of the car's styling, Volkswagen designers switched from round shapes to a rectangular design structure – based on the legendary design study by Giorgio Giugiaro".

Golf II (1983 to 1991): This was the Golf in which Volkswagen technologies such as the controlled catalytic converter (1984), ABS (1986) and all-wheel drive (1986) were introduced. In this generation, the model series also advanced to become a definitive icon. Marc Lichte, lead exterior designer for Volkswagen recalls: "Back then, one of the key moments in the history of the Golf was the decision by board members to further develop the styling of the Golf I and conceptualise the Golf II based on its "visual DNA". This set everything into motion, and Volkswagen created the foundation for continuous development of the model series."

Golf III (1991 to 1997): In 1991, Volkswagen initiated a new era of safety in the third generation. For one, the Golf III was the first model in the series to offer front airbags in 1992; for another, great progress in the area of body manufacturing led to further improvements in crash properties. The first TDI engine of the model series was also introduced in this Golf (1993).

Golf IV (1997 to 2003): Under the direction of the former Head of Design (Group) Hartmut Warkuß, a precise design was created that would pave the way for the future of Volkswagen. Today, experts look upon the Golf IV as a design icon and a pioneer for the series. But this Golf was also an engineering innovator with technologies such as ESC (1998) and the dual clutch gearbox (2002).

Golf V (2003 to 2008): It was the Golf, its comfort, dynamics and above all its quality that left many a competitor of the upper mid-class trailing behind. A value that illustrates the stability of the laser-welded body is the 35 per cent gain in torsional rigidity when the Golf V made its debut in 2003. The first Golf BlueMotion (4.5 l/100 km fuel consumption) – based on the Golf V – was created in 2007.

Golf VI (2008 to 2012): The body, once again welded by laser, was so safe that it performed with flying colours in EuroNCAP crash testing, attaining its maximum five star rating. The triumph of the TSI engines (high-tech petrol engines) and conversion of the turbodiesels (TDI) to the common rail system led to more dynamic performance and better fuel economy. The forerunner was the second Golf BlueMotion, which offered a combined fuel consumption value of just 3.8 l/100 km.

Golf VII (since 2012): Weight was reduced by up to 100 kg in the seventh generation Golf, reversing the much discussed upward weight spiral. Fuel consumption was reduced by as much as over 23 per cent compared to the previous model, depending on the specific engine. The forerunner of this movement is the Golf TDI BlueMotion with a combined fuel consumption of just 3.2 l/100km, and it is also the 30 millionth car produced. The Golf VII will definitely go down in history as the compact model in which an entire armada of new assistance systems made its debut. They are systems such as PreCrash preventive occupant protection and the Automatic Post-Collision Braking System – technologies that were more likely to be offered in the premium class than in the compact class previously. That too signifies a democratisation of automotive progress.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 54 Comments
      Vergenbuurg
      • 1 Year Ago
      This is neither here nor there, but I *adore* multiple vehicle generation shots like the main one.
      Puck
      • 1 Year Ago
      It's good to see that some things don't really Change much.
      over9000
      • 1 Year Ago
      The wheels get larger and larger..
        Dayv
        • 1 Year Ago
        @over9000
        As opposed to the trend everywhere else? Hey, why not mention that the old ones weigh less, too?
      IOMTT
      • 1 Year Ago
      Man, that is a lot of Golfs! Personally, I never really got into the water cooled VW's. I was interested in building a 12 second aircooled Beetle and when that failed, I built a 9 second Suzuki. I do admit looking at mid 80's GTI's on Ebay though, I love the looks of those early Golf (Rabbit) models imported to the US.
      nettsu
      • 1 Year Ago
      I wonder how many have been recalled due to faulty DSGs...
      knightrider_6
      • 1 Year Ago
      Oh good. It's only 10 million behind the Corolla.
        Dean Hammond
        • 1 Year Ago
        @knightrider_6
        hell of a lot nicer vehicle as well......................
        Matt
        • 1 Year Ago
        @knightrider_6
        Corolla buyers would keep buying Corollas even if every other car was twice as good for half the price. Toyota and Honda enjoy some of the most brand loyal sheep...err...customers in the world. Their product offerings are starting to seriously suffer as a result of this complacency; case in point, the Forester and CX-5 from humble Subie and Mazda thrashing the RAV4 and CRV in every published comparison test. I can't think of any Corolla that I would drive even if it was free, whereas most of the Golf configurations are true driver's cars, with more practicality than the Corolla to boot.
          Caught At The Curb
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Matt
          How true, Matt. My '01 Golf TDI has 437,000 trouble free miles on it, but that's only half the story. It's also the only car around that I would *want* to spend over 400K miles in. I can't imagine wanting to keep a Corolla that long even if it was in perfect shape.
          sfblog
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Matt
          You wouldn't drive any Corolla even if it were for free? AE86? I wonder how many of the Corrolas sold are still on the road vs Golfs. I guess the "Sheep" buy corollas because they are meant to last, be practical, get them from point A-B, virtually maintenace free, etc... vs buying a "True Drivers cars" that wont DRIVE most of the time and costs $$$ to own. Name a few reasons to own it other than it's a "True Drivers Car" Reliability? Resale Value? Price? Design? Baaaah Bahhh!
          Dean Hammond
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Matt
          I think a lot of the Corollas cache as such is its REAL old school, no frills, simple as all out and literally has less shite/ gimmicks to go wrong....hell, last I looked it STILL had a 4 speed auto.....if thats still the case, and i beleive it is, the drivetrain could be carbon dated...every \"glitch\" should be ironed out....
        Val
        • 1 Year Ago
        @knightrider_6
        Since corolla has sedan and hatchback variants, and the golf sedan is called Jetta (or Bora, or Vento), and has more than 6 million sales of its own, the golf+jetta is less than 4 million behind corolla. Also, first model year for corolla is '66, first model year for golf is '74. So yeah, 8 years, 4 million cars... not much at all actually.
          nsxrules
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Val
          Corolla is actually over 46 million......
          Val
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Val
          or, it is, like, not.
        nsxrules
        • 1 Year Ago
        @knightrider_6
        Actually more like 16+ million behind the Corolla, which makes sense as the Corolla is much better built/far more reliable. The Golf has only sold this many units because in Europe and China keep buying golfs despite their horrendous reliability record.
        Chris
        • 1 Year Ago
        @knightrider_6
        The Corolla is also soulless, and mind numbingly boring. It's basic A to B transportation, and nothing more, and is arguably the most boring car in its segment. The same cannot be said about the Golf, especially the GTI. They're practical driver's cars meant for those of us who need a good daily driver, but don't want to be put to sleep at the same time. With that said, I could care less about the Corolla because I know which way I would go if I was in the market for a new car.
        over9000
        • 1 Year Ago
        @knightrider_6
        What's wrong with a corolla? I would choose a trusted, reliable brand if I am buying an appliance as well...
          Matt
          • 1 Year Ago
          @over9000
          Exactly. The Corolla is an appliance, the Golf is a car. I have to spend an hour or so a day in my car, whereas even the least reliable car on the market still averages less than one repair per year. I'll give up 2 hrs a year or whatever at the dealer if it means I get 365+ hours per year of driving a car I actually enjoy. The waiting room of the VW dealer and the driver's seat of a Corolla are equally dull places to be.
          • 1 Year Ago
          @over9000
          [blocked]
      Terry Actill
      • 1 Year Ago
      I owned a Golf and enjoyed it. Great handling, practical, and never failed me.
      RetrogradE
      • 1 Year Ago
      I can't wait for all of the haters to chime in with all kinds of lame anecdotes about how VW quality sucks. I'm going on 3 years with my 2010 GTI with DSG and it's such a fantastic combination of utility, performance, comfort, style, and DRIVE. Then again. . . "If I only had a little humility, I'd be perfect." --Ted Turner
        mmmoose
        • 1 Year Ago
        @RetrogradE
        First-time VW owner here with an '08 Rabbit @ 93k miles. Bought it brand new in the summer of '08 and have experienced ZERO mechanical problems with it. The 2.5L might be a huge gas hog, but man is it fun and torquey for a base trim engine. At a starting price of $15k they were pretty much a steal (even imported directly from Wolfsburg). My only regret... not buying the GTI instead, with the 0% APR @ 72 months offer I was given at the time.
      knightrider_6
      • 1 Year Ago
      Does the number include A3/A4 as well?
      Maxximtl
      • 1 Year Ago
      They could have arranged the last 3 in any order and I honestly wouldn't know which one is the newest.
        RudyH
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Maxximtl
        that's fine, it shows you aren't an automotive enthusiast
      cpmanx
      • 1 Year Ago
      Amazing to see how true VW has remained to the basic Golf styling tropes over nearly 40 years--and yet the current version still looks sharp and very modern. I can't think of any other car that has undergone such a methodical design evolution.
        Georg
        • 1 Year Ago
        @cpmanx
        three numbers... 911 ...
        cpmanx
        • 1 Year Ago
        @cpmanx
        911, quite right. I was really thinking mainstream cars, but that's also a great example--though the Golf has gone through more generations. Beetle and Mini (like the Mustang, Camaro, and 500) are a different case because they are reborn designs that echo retro styling cues; they haven't methodically followed one style and allowed it to evolve progressively as the Golf (and 911) have.
        over9000
        • 1 Year Ago
        @cpmanx
        Beetle... Mini cooper...
      Ross
      • 1 Year Ago
      Ha, I just happened to pick up my first Golf today.
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