Volkswagen Golf GTE to Have Mass Market Appeal – VW e-Golf a Niche Offering


Golf GTE  in Geneva

Golf GTE in Geneva

At the 2014 Geneva Motor Show, Volkswagen execs told us that the VW Golf GTE plug-in hybrid won’t be sold in the US.

It’s our belief that VW is trying to pull one over on us.  By saying the GTE won’t be offered here, VW will then be able to dazzle us all when it officially decides to launch the Golf GTE in the States.

Why on Earth would VW not sell the Golf GTE in the US?  If the following statement from Frost & Sullivan analyst Nicolas Meilhan holds even a grain of truth, then the Golf GTE is headed here:

“Volkswagen isn’t going to sell many battery-only cars. The E-Golf (2015 US specs here) is a stop-gap. It’s telling people that VW is coming with electric cars, but the range-extended (plug-in hybrid) car will come soon in August 2014. That won’t be a niche model like the battery electric car, but will be for the mass market.”

Where’s the “mass market” for plug-in vehicles?  The US, right?  California more specifically, but if VW intends to shoot for the masses with the Golf GTE, then it’ll have to be sold in the US.

In our opinion, the Golf GTE is coming stateside.  The only question is when?  August 2014 is the German launch date for the Golf GTE.  We’re willing to bet the Golf GTE will arrive at US dealer before mid-2015.

VW e-Golf in Geneva

VW e-Golf in Geneva

Source: Forbes

Category: VW

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16 responses to "Volkswagen Golf GTE to Have Mass Market Appeal – VW e-Golf a Niche Offering"
  1. Mike999 says:

    Do I really need 200 hp, in this small car?
    I’d rather have better MPG.

    1. Brian says:

      The Golf GTI has pretty much the same specs. So here you have a performance car with dramatically improved MPG. Compare apples-to-apples and you’ll realize that the GTE is a huge step in the right direction. We want to get “car people”, “driving enthusiasts”, whatever you want to call them, hooked on the performance of EVs. This is what gets people excited, not boring ugly cars like the Prius. You can always convert them to an eGolf later, which has similar performance from 0-30, but tapers off. But it is much more efficient (and burns no gas).

    2. Mint says:

      If you want to sell a small car for $25k+, then yes, you do need 200hp in it. Saving a few bucks by using a smaller engine isn’t gonna let VW sell the GTE for $20k.

      And when you have a PHEV, better fuel economy has diminishing returns on both the environment and your wallet.

      We need more high performance PHEVs, not only for reputation’s sake so that consumers are more interested, but also to generate profit for automakers to encourage their marketing.

  2. Brian says:

    Speculation and Rumors? Or just wishful thinking?

    I agree that the GTE makes more sense than the e-Golf for mass market appeal in the US. I talked to the rep at the NYIAS about the topic, and she pointed out that VW spends a lot of money to bring any car across the pond. She said that it was decided that it wasn’t worth importing both the e-Golf and the GTE. What she didn’t say (but I strongly suspect) is that VW needs the e-Golf to meet CARB requirements. Therefore, if they are only importing one car, that gets first dibs. My only hope would be that demand is so strong that they eventually bring the GTE stateside, but I am not holding out much hope that it will happen in 2015.

    I think we, as observers and enthusiasts, too often underestimate the time and money that is required to launch a car, implement improvements, etc. Yes, we are all eager to see EVs take over the roads, but it is going to happen slow and steady.

    All this said, I really do wish that VW would bring the GTE state-side in 2015. If it was priced comparable to the GTI, it would be at the top of my list for replacing my out-of-lease Leaf. But I am not holding my breath.

  3. JakeY says:

    It’s simple, the e-golf gives VW CARB ZEV credits, the GTE doesn’t (because it still has a tailpipe). So VW needs the e-Golf here (unless they intend to buy credits, which most automakers aren’t doing anymore), while the GTE is optional.

  4. evnow says:

    To get mass market appeal, we need Passat Plugin. $30k+ compacts have limited mass appeal.

    1. miimura says:

      Agree. A3 eTron and Passat PHEV are the right vehicles for the first round of VW electrification in USA. Well, VW/Audi, not including Porsche… I wish they would really do the CrossBlue too.

    2. Mikael says:

      $30k compact cars have plenty of mass market appeal. The Golf GTI and GTD are sold in large numbers in Europe and the GTE will probably get as large chunk of those numbers as VW can (and want to) produce.

      It’s just not for the US market.

  5. Brandon says:

    To get mass market appeal, you need an appealing car first of all.

    1. Mikael says:

      Step 1, check. Next step?

      The most sold car in Europe is plenty appealing for it’s customers.

  6. Alaa says:

    I still think that the Tesla Model S is the cheapest EV, because of what one gets for the money.

    1. Brian says:

      That would make it the best value. It is hardly the cheapest.

      The Model S is the most expensive BEV on the market, and it has the highest operating cost to boot! (It has the lowest efficiency of any BEV on the market)

  7. miimura says:

    The A3 eTron PHEV is basically the same car as the GTE, so VW probably feels providing that car for both brands is not worthwhile.

    1. DaveMart says:

      The VW group plan to cover what is after all a fairly small segment of the market.

      Audi are covering the PHEV and VW the BEV.

    2. Stan says:

      And Audi can charge more for the same car than VW because of the “premium” character.