After only four model years, Volkswagen Group of America Inc. is ditching the Rabbit name and returning to the Golf moniker for its smallest model in the United States
The new generation of the car, which goes on sale in October, will be called the Golf and makes it U.S. debut at next months New York auto show. The Golf will be a 2010 model.
The move is part of a worldwide effort to use the same name in every market for a vehicle, VW spokesman Tom Wegehaupt said today.
VW decided to revive the Rabbit name for the 2006 model year to boost sales of its entry model and waged advertising campaigns using bunnies. The decision got a lukewarm reception in the press.
VW first launched the Rabbit in 1975 and used the name until adopting the Golf name for the redesign in 1984.
Said Wegehaupt: A lot of consumers tell us they prefer the name Rabbit, but we are moving to this name strategy. There is so much weight behind Golf -- we have sold more than 26 million in 30 years in 120 countries.
He acknowledged that returning to the Golf name wont make it easier to do advertising because VW uses market-specific rather than global campaigns.
Wegehaupt also said VW will add a diesel engine to the Golf this fall. The engine is the same one used in the Jetta -- a 2.0-liter inline four-cylinder, 50-state diesel with 140 hp.
The Golf's entry engine will be a 2.5-liter inline five-cylinder gasoline engine with 170 hp. The performance GTI, marketed in the United States as a standalone vehicle, gets a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder inline engine with 200 hp.