Volkswagen is calling it ‘anniversary pricing’, where it has cut the prices of some models and added equipment to others to mark the German carmaker’s 60 years in New Zealand.
It used the launch at the Hampton Downs race track of the Golf R to kick off the birthday bonus scheme. VW promises savings on selected models of up to 18 per cent. First for the anniversary treatment are the Passat and the Polo. Others will follow.
The Golf R (above) is indeed impressive. It’s the go-faster version of the go-fast seventh-generation Golf GTi. It is significantly faster off the mark, sprinting from 0-100km/h in a claimed 4.9 seconds against the GTi Performance variant’s 6.4 seconds.
Another VW claim is that Golf R is good for a town-and-around fuel economy of around 7 litres/100km, or 40mpg. The upshot of the speed/fuel use mix, says VW New Zealand general manager Tom Ruddenklau, is that the Golf R is “faster (to 100km/h) than an Aston Martin DB9 and more economic than the (Toyota) Corolla – it’s the best performance vehicle, from a value perspective, in the country.”
Ruddenklau’s opinion might ignite debate. Subaru, for one, could legitimately challenge it. Why? The turbocharged 2.0-litre engine in the all-wheel-drive Golf R generates 221kW between 5500-6200rpm and 380Nm between 1800-5500rpm. It costs $68,500 for the six-speed manual model and $70,990 for the double-clutch DGS automatic.
The turbocharged 2.0-litre flat-four in the all-wheel-drive WRX delivers 197kW at 5600rpm and 350Nm between 2400-5200rpm. The engine sends power to four wheels via a six-speed manual ($48,990) or eight-stage continuously variable transmission ($54,990). There are variants in between. Subaru claims a 0-100km/h sprint time of six seconds for the manual and 6.3 seconds for the automatic. Advantage Golf R. The WRX does a claimed 9.2 litres/100km for the manual and 8.6 litres for the automatic. That’s 30-33mpg. Advantage Golf R.
But then there’s the price difference. Advantage WRX. Also, European versus Japanese … deuce. But this is just the start of comparisons. They will heat up further in June when the Subaru WRX STi arrives. Its power and torque figures will be similar to those of the Golf R, but it is expected to start in price at a tad under $60,000. Watch this space.
Anyway, VW was born in the 1930s with the Beetle, the ‘people’s car’. The Beetle arrived in NZ in the early 1950s as a fully built up vehicle. From 1958 they were shipped in as bits and pieces and assembed at a plant in Otahuhu, Auckland. By 1986, when assembly ceased, the plant had produced 30,000 vehicles. (See timeline below)
Ruddenklau says he wants to celebrate 60 years with a return to the ‘people’s car’ roots, starting with the Golf, the 2013 NZ car of the year. “Our goal is to bring the world’s best to all Kiwis, and we’ll continue to strive for that in the next many years,” he said.
“We are proud of our German roots and we are delighted to be able bring the full depth of this knowledge and expertise to New Zealand drivers”.
• 1954 – Jowett Motors becomes the first VW importer in NZ. The first VWs arrive fully built up.
• 1958 – VW Motors (formally Jowett Motors) completes its new assembly plant in Otahuhu.
• 1962 – The 10,000th VW to be assembled in NZ rolls off the production line
• 1974 – Golf production begins in Germany.
• 1976 – The VW Golf GTI is launched.
• 1978 – Sir Colin Giltrap sets up European Motor Distributors and obtains the VW franchise.
• 1985 – First all-wheel-drive VW. It’s the Type 3 Transporter, branded as ‘Syncro’ but now known as 4Motion.
• 1986 – Motor Holdings (formally VW Motors) produces its 30,000th VW in Otahuhu. This was the end of VW assembly in NZ.
• 2000 – The ‘Autostadt’ in Wolfsburg opens.
• 2002 – The Golf becomes VW’s most successful model, passing the Beetle’s production total of 21,517,415.
• 2002 – The ‘Transparent Factory’ in Dresden opens. Its main purpose is to build the VW’s luxury Phaeton sedan.
• 2003 – The 4Motion brand evolves.
• 2009 – Production of the Amarok ute begins.
• 2013 – The 30 millionth Golf is built.
• 2014 – 60 Years of VW in NZ.