Volkswagen says the Golf retained its title of best-selling car in Europe in 2020, despite a year interrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The German firm says “around 312 000” units of the Golf were registered across Europe in 2020, with as many as 179 000 coming in the second half of the year. Around 133 900 were sold in Germany, which was enough to make the hatchback that country’s top seller, too (followed by the Tiguan and Passat in second and third, respectively).

“In 2020, the Golf is still exactly where it belongs,” said Ralf Brandstätter, CEO of Volkswagen Passenger Cars. “With the Golf 8 we are seamlessly continuing the success story of its previous generations.

“The car is continuing to set technical standards in many dimensions. After the outbreak of the coronavirus in spring interrupted the market launch that had just started, the Golf had a lot of catching up to do in the second half of the year.

“In particular, the availability of all of the important model derivatives, such as the GTI, GTD and GTE, gave the Golf a second wind in the third quarter,” Brandstätter added.

The Wolfsburg-based firm said “high demand” for hybrid models also contributed to the Golf’s success on the continent, with one in three Golf models sold in Europe in 2020 featuring a hybrid powertrain.

The Golf 8 is scheduled to arrive in South Africa in the first quarter of 2021, with the new GTI likely to be available from launch.