Finweek English Edition - - Business Strategy -

NO OTHER VE­HI­CLE MAN­U­FAC­TURER can claim to have cre­ated two dif­fer­ent cars that have sold more than 20m units. Volk­swa­gen’s orig­i­nal Bee­tle only ceased pro­duc­tion in Brazil in 2003 – 65 years af­ter its launch. The sales to­tal for the Volk­swa­gen Golf – the sixth gen­er­a­tion launched in South Africa last week – now tops 26m.

The Golf was first pro­duced in 1974. SA has played no small part in its suc­cess, since it’s the only coun­try world­wide where the Golf 1 – in the form of the Citi Golf – is still built and sold. When and by which model the Citi Golf, a good earner for the Uitenhage plant, will be re­placed is also a peren­nial de­bate in the SA auto in­dus­try. Thanks to the Citi Golf, of the 26m Golfs that have been sold in 120 coun­tries, SA’s con­tri­bu­tion is roughly 500 000.

The gulf be­tween the Golf VI and Citi Golf couldn’t be greater. Just take the show­room price. Al­though VW has man­aged to shave a few thou­sand rand off the sticker price com­pared to the fifth gen­er­a­tion, the cheapest Golf will now set you back R214 400, be­fore any op­tional equip­ment. And it’s the op­tional equip­ment that’s the real in­di­ca­tor the Golf range has long since left its rep­u­ta­tion of a suit­able first car or stu­dent run­about be­hind.

A Golf that can park it­self? No prob­lem. For a tad over R10 000 the Golf will au­to­mat­i­cally steer it­self – with the help of radar and sen­sors – into a tight park­ing spot with a “look Ma, no hands”. A rear-view cam­era – not long ago the pre­serve of pre­mium ex­ec­u­tive saloons and the plu­to­barge – and a satel­lite

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