Volkswagen Australia streamlines line-up, six models axed
Volkswagen will cull a number of slow-selling models and variants – from the iconic Passat to the Golf R performance wagon – in preparation for a wave of new electric vehicles.
A fleet of slow-selling cars will be cut from Volkswagen Australia showrooms in the coming months as the German automaker clears the way for four new electric vehicles due within 18 months.
Volkswagen Australia executives told a media briefing this week the “clean-up” of the company’s model range will see six models culled – including the nearly 50-year-old Passat nameplate, which today is sold only as a wagon.
However the company said fleet orders for Victoria Police and NSW Police – currently the biggest customers of the Volkswagen Passat locally, will be honoured before production ends.
The demise of the Volkswagen Passat locally will be joined by its sportier Arteon twin, sold in liftback and wagon bodystyles, plus regular 110TSI and high-performance R versions of the Golf wagon, the base manual version of the Polo city hatch, and diesel variants of the Tiguan SUV.
“We’re recalibrating our portfolio to SUVs and electric vehicles [plus Golf and Polo hatchbacks], and that’s it. Sometimes hard decisions have to be made,” Volkswagen Australia director of passenger vehicles Michal Szeniecki told Drive.
“We’re doing a bit of a clean-up before we enter our chapter of electric vehicles.”
While many of the affected models have been mainstays of the line-up for decades – the first Passat came to Australia in 1974, the Golf wagon has been available since 2009, and a manual transmission has been offered in the Polo since the original in 1996 – they are all slower sellers today.
Last year Volkswagen reported 948 Passats and 612 Arteons as sold in Australia.
Only about one in 10 Volkswagen Golfs sold are wagons, while the diesel Tiguan has historically accounted for five to 10 per cent of sales.
The axing of the three-pedal Polo city hatch means Volkswagen Australia will no longer sell a passenger vehicle with a manual transmission, after the manual Golf was made temporarily unavailable in late 2021, before it was axed for good in mid 2022.
Most of the vehicles will be phased out over the coming months, with the Golf wagon to survive into early next year, as remaining orders for the Golf R wagon – which have been closed for new deposits since February 2023 – are cleared.
In addition to its axing in Australia, the Arteon will soon be discontinued globally as Volkswagen focuses on more popular and profitable models, and culls slow sellers.
Volkswagen is preparing for an onslaught of electric vehicles over the next 18 months, starting with the ID.4 and ID.5 mid-size electric SUVs mid next year – including GTX high-performance versions – pending any delays.
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