Stackmann told AN, "We've never hid the fact that software, an area of extreme importance for products in the future, is a serious challenge for us." The most time consuming programming challenges center on over-the-air updates and other digital features, as well as the compliance issues around them.
"Already now there are ten times more lines of code in the latest Golf than in a smartphone, but it is not just the complexity in the vehicle that causes problems," Stackmann said. The security of the open system needs to stand up to OEM standards, making the Golf impervious to hackers and accidental interference. Beyond that, VW needs to ensure any glitches in the code don't adversely affect the Golf's operation, or worse, brick the car.
VW's also concerned about what features added after sale mean for regulatory homologation. "You're adding content to a vehicle afterwards, and this is an area where we are working together with the type approval agencies to define these processes. It is new for them as well."
With code writers "under heavy pressure" to compile and proof the digital ecosystem, production plans have been scaled back. Instead of the 80,000 units planned to come off the Wolfsburg factory line this year, Der Spiegel said just 10,000 units are in the pipeline. That represents five days of current Mk 7 Golf production.
Assuming all goes to plan, the new Golf begins sales in Germany, followed by other European markets.