Volkswagen Golf celebrates 40 years of existence

Irrespective of what metric it is being measured up against, the Volkswagen Beetle would emerge as an iconic automobile that shattered the industry records. Hugely successful for decades together, the Beetle has its name etched in automotive history as one of the largest selling cars of all time. On March 29, 1974, when Volkswagen first rolled out the Golf as a replacement for the Beetle, it wouldn't have foreseen what happened next. Over the next 40 years, the Golf has spawned seven generations and sold an unprecedented 30 million units. In the process, the Golf not only became the most successful European car in history but also the most successful Volkswagen ever.

Its not always automotive companies openly admit one of their competitor's models as their benchmark. But the Golf is one such model and has always been the gold standard of the compact segment against which most new models conceived and developed by rival brands are being benchmarked. It's not hard to understand why. From the 'Mk I' which debuted in 1974 to the Mk VII that premiered in 2012, the Golf has always been a pioneer when it comes to introducing technology and features to the compact segment. As Volkswagen rightly pointed out in its press release, it was this car that took the most important technologies and trends, like turbocharging, direct injection, Antilock Braking System (ABS), Adaptive Cruise Control and automatic air-conditioning, to the mass market.

With thousands of loyalists that swear by them, the sporty GTI and GTD variants have gone on to become legends in their own ways. The seventh-generation Golf will also have a GTE, an electric hot hatch, joining the lineup.

Quite understandably, for a car that accomplished so much in its life span, awards and accolades have poured in over the years. The Golf is a two-time "European Car of the Year" title-winner in its Mk III and Mk VII incarnations while the latter was also chosen as the 2013 World Car of the Year. The Golf is also one of the few cars that cracked the Japanese car market and was also selected as the Japanese Car of the Year 2013-14, beating domestic giants Toyota, Honda, Nissan and Mazda.

This is not the end of the story, mind you, as the Golf is still going strong at 40 years and is all set to shatter more records over time.


  1. Wow, always thought that Beetle was the most successful Volkswagen ever. Golf rocks..

    1. You aren't alone. Not many know that the Golf has sold more numbers than the Beetle.