The Golf GTE was first previewed to the Malaysian market back in 2014 and we haven’t heard about it until recently when Volkswagen Passenger Cars Malaysia (VPCM) – distributor of Volkswagen vehicles in Malaysia – expressed that they are eager to introduce the GTE (plug-in hybrid) models here. Surely that got us and everyone else excited especially since the Golf GTE just recently underwent a facelift.
However, we spoke to reliable sources familiar with the matter and learnt that to introduce plug-in hybrid models – the Golf GTE in particular – will be an uphill battle. Here’s why.
1) Difficult to justify the demand volume to principal holder, Volkswagen Group (VAG)
Due to the small demand in the Golf models in Malaysia, VPCM is unable to command the quantity needed for the Golf GTE to make a sensible business case. Besides that, should the Golf suddenly becomes VPCM’s bread and butter model, the company would most definitely first look into locally assembling the Golf before introducing the Golf GTE.
2) Lack of facilities for local assembly and after-sales support of the Golf GTE (or any GTE models in fact)
With the tax incentive for locally assembled plug-in hybrid models, VPCM will have to introduce the Golf GTE as a CKD unit to be able to price it attractively. No one wants a Golf that costs more than a BMW 330e right?
However, assembling a plug-in hybrid model is not as straightforward as a regular internal combustion models as the assembly will be handling high-voltage battery packs and model-specific parts. The concern is that VPCM will have to heavily invest in the upgrade of their facilities as well as train their service personnel to cater for Golf GTE. The large investment towards a small volume hatchback just doesn’t make any sense, for now.
While there are no concrete plans for the Golf GTE to be introduced to Malaysia anytime soon, the silver lining is that should VPCM return to its former glory, you can bet that there will be some exciting models coming our way. Perhaps one way to fast track that to reality is to buy more Volkswagen cars?