VW Decides Rabbit Name Isn’t So Cute After All

By Brendan Moore

03.27.2009

vw-logoAfter reviving the Rabbit name in North America for the hatchback known in the rest of the world as the Golf in 2006, VW has decided to change the name back to Golf. The Rabbit name was used in North America previously when the Golf was introduced in the US  in 1975, but was dropped in the region with the 1984 model year. In the rest of the world, the Golf name has been used from the beginning of the model’s existence, and has never been changed.

The return to the Golf name in North America will happen with the 2010 production models due in the US in October 2009, and will be shown on pre-production models at the New York Auto Show next month..

The whole idea behind bringing back the Rabbit name in 2006 was that American consumers would really respond to the warm and fuzzy memories of the original Rabbit. It didn’t work out like that; consumers for the most part just yawned when greeted with the retro name.

VW, for its part, says that the underwhelming response to the name change for the Golf has nothing to do with their decision to go back to the Golf name. Rather, it has to do with VW’s decision to use the same name for every one of their models worldwide.

Tom Wegehaupt, spokesman for VW, stated, “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.”

The VW spokesman also commented that VW will add a diesel engine to the Golf this fall. This interesting engine is the same one currently used in the Jetta diesel; a 2 liter inline four-cylinder, 50-state-compliant clean diesel with 140 hp.

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Author: Brendan Moore

Brendan Moore is a Principal Consultant with Cedar Point Consulting , a management consulting practice based in the Washington, DC area. He also manages Autosavant Consulting, a separate practice within Cedar Point Consulting. where he advises businesses connected to the auto industry. Cedar Point Consulting can be found at http://www.cedarpointconsulting.com.

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1 Comment

  1. I always thought that the last-minute change to the Rabbit name was a bit of a head-scratcher. Reminding us of a late-’70s econo-box, no matter how beloved it might have been, didn’t seem like a great idea. The global-single-name strategy makes sense.

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