Volkswagen celebrates 45 years of Golf

Mar 29, 2019

On March 29, 1974, Volkswagen started production of the iconic Golf 

  • Since 1974, a new Golf has been ordered every 41 seconds
  • With 35 million units sold worldwide, Golf is the best-selling Volkswagen
  • Production of the Golf I started at the Wolfsburg plant – the Golf is now produced at five plants in Germany, Brazil, China and Mexico, and is exported to 155 countries
  • First sold in the U.S. in December 1974

Herndon, VA  (March, 29, 2019) — On March 29, 1974, the Volkswagen plant in Wolfsburg officially started production of the Golf. Back then, no one had any idea that the successor to the legendary Beetle would end up selling more than 35 million units through seven generations. That means that a new Golf has been ordered somewhere in the world every 41 seconds, every day, without interruption, since the start of production 45 years ago. That is an average of around 780,000 vehicles per year.

In the U.S., more than 2.6 million Golf family models have been sold since 1974. The Golf has earned a spot on Car and Driver’s 10Best list for the last 13 years in a row, and the current-generation Mk 7 Golf was named North American Car of the Year when it debuted for the 2015 model year.

For 2019, the Golf is available in two trims—S and SE. Both are powered by a 1.4T, 147 horsepower engine paired with either a six-speed manual or an eight-speed automatic transmission. Every Golf model features standard Volkswagen Car-Net® App-Connect, Forward Collision Warning and Autonomous Emergency Braking with Pedestrian Monitoring (Front Assist), Blind Spot Monitor, and Rear Traffic Alert.

SE models offer standard leatherette seating surfaces, heated seats, KESSY® keyless access and push-button start, 8-inch Composition Media infotainment display, and Car-Net Security & Service. A Driver Assistance package is optional, and includes Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC), Lane Keeping System, (Lane Assist), High Beam Control (Light Assist), auto-dimming rearview mirror, and 17-inch aluminum-alloy wheels.

Pricing for the 2019 Volkswagen Golf S with a standard six-speed manual transmission starts at $21,845. The Golf S with eight-speed automatic transmission starts at $22,945. The destination charge for all Golf models is an additional $895.

Seven Generations of Golf (US Model Years)

Golf I: MY 1975-1984

  • 1.5-liter engine with 70 hp
  • First sold in December 1974 as “Rabbit”
  • GTI introduced in 1983 with 1.8-liter 90 hp engine

Golf II: MY 1985-1992

  • Sold as “Golf”
  • Dimensions grow by nearly 7 inches in length, 3 inches in wheelbase, and 2 inches in width
  • Standard engine is revised 1.8-liter with 85 hp, GTI introduces 2.0-liter engine with 131 hp
  • Catalytic converter, anti-lock braking system and power steering debut

Golf III: MY 1993-1999

  • Design shifts to wedge shape
  • Base powertrain is 2.0-liter with 115 hp, GTI moves to 2.8-liter VR6 with 172 hp
  • Front and side airbags debut, advances in body construction result in improved crash safety
  • VR6® engine, Ecomatic transmission, and cruise control offered for the first time

Golf IV: MY 1999-2005 

  • All-new design with flatter windshield, and roofline carried further back with steeper rear window
  • Electronic stability control, side curtain airbags, 4Motion® all-wheel drive, DSG® dual-clutch automatic transmission, and navigation debut
  • R32 introduced for 2004

Golf V: MY 2006-2009

  • New multi-link rear suspension; Bi-Xenon® headlights, rain-sensing wipers introduced
  • Sold as “Rabbit” again
  • Base engine is 150 hp 2.5-liter, GTI moves to 200 hp 2.0-liter turbocharged direct-injection engine
  • R32 reintroduced for 2008 with 250 hp

Golf VI: MY 2010-2014

  • “Golf” name returns
  • Prominent character line runs from headlights to taillights
  • Base powertrain is 2.5-liter with 170 hp
  • Golf R introduced for 2012 with 256 hp

Golf VII: MY 2015-2019

  • Based on Modular Transverse Matrix (MQB) architecture
  • Golf grows in size yet drops in weight, despite a plethora of new and upscale features
  • Base 1.8-liter 170 hp engine replaces 2.5-liter to gain an EPA-estimated 6 mpg highway
  • Available driver-assistance technology includes Automatic Post-Collision Braking System, Forward Collision Warning, Park Distance Control

About Volkswagen of America, Inc.
Founded in 1955, Volkswagen of America, Inc., an operating unit of Volkswagen Group of America, Inc. (VWoA) is headquartered in Herndon, Virginia. It is a subsidiary of Volkswagen AG, headquartered in Wolfsburg, Germany. VWoA’s operations in the United States include research and development, parts and vehicle processing, parts distribution centers, sales, marketing and service offices, financial service centers, and its state -of-the- art manufacturing facility in Chattanooga, Tennessee. The Volkswagen Group is one of the world's largest producers of passenger cars and Europe's largest automaker. VWoA sells the Atlas, Beetle, Beetle Convertible, e-Golf, Golf, Golf Alltrack, Golf GTI, Golf R, Golf SportWagen, Jetta, Passat, and Tiguan vehicles through more than 650 independent U.S. dealers. Visit Volkswagen of America online at or to learn more.

This press release and images of the seven generations of Golf are available at Follow us @VWNews.

“4Motion”, “Car-Net”, “DSG”, “KESSY”, “TSI”, “VR6”, “VW”, “Volkswagen”, all model names and the Volkswagen logo are registered trademarks of Volkswagen AG. “Bi-Xenon” is a registered trademark of Hella KGaA Hueck & Co. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.

This information and any vehicle specifications are preliminary and subject to change.

Features and technical data apply to models offered in the USA. They may differ in other countries.

All prices provided are the Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price and exclude destination, taxes, title, other options and dealer charges. Dealer sets actual price.

When using KESSY keyless access or remote start, do not leave vehicle unattended with the engine running, particularly in enclosed spaces. See Owner’s Manual for further details and important warnings about the keyless ignition feature.

Not all Car-Net App-Connect features are available on all operating systems. Standard text and data usage rates apply. App-Connect features require compatible device, operating system, and mobile apps. See mobile device and app providers for terms and privacy.

Car-Net Security & Service requires a trial or paid subscription.  Services provided by Verizon Connect, Inc. and available on select models only. VW Car-Net Security & Service services require vehicle cellular connectivity and availability of vehicle GPS signal; certain services may collect location information. See Terms of Service, Privacy Policy, and other details at

Fuel economy will vary and depends on several factors including driving habits and vehicle condition. See for details.

Airbags are supplemental restraints only and will not deploy under all crash circumstances. Always use safety belts and seat children only in the rear, using restraint systems appropriate for their size and age.

Driver-assistance features are not substitutes for attentive driving. See Owner’s Manual for further details, and important limitations.