In mid-March 2019, Volkswagen said the planned September launch of its Golf 8 had been delayed, with some reports suggesting software glitches were the cause. Now a high-ranking executive has confirmed VW is under “heavy pressure” to fix the bugs quickly.

Speaking to Automotive News Europe, Jürgen Stackmann, who heads up sales, marketing and after sales at VW’s passenger vehicle brand, said the launch of the eighth-generation Golf "lies within the target corridor when it comes to eliminating bugs".

Stackmann went on to reveal sales were scheduled to start in Germany in the ninth calendar week of 2020 (which puts it late in February).

The report said the new model’s advanced digital features, including its ability to handle “over the air” software updates, were behind the delay.

"We've never hid the fact that software, an area of extreme importance for products in the future, is a serious challenge for us," Stackmann told the publication. "We have our homework ahead of us, and the teams are under heavy pressure.

"Due to their online connectivity, there is a lot more software especially in the area of security, which is a real challenge since the car is no longer a closed ecosystem.

"A customer might get angry if their smartphone doesn't work, but you do a debug the next day. A car is different – if something goes wrong it can become critical, so the security requirements are far higher," he explained.

Stackmann also pointed out that over the air software updates would impact a vehicle's homologation.

"You're adding content to a vehicle afterwards, and this is an area where we are working together with the type approval agencies to define these processes. It is new for them as well.”