The Volkswagen Golf has now been available in South Africa for 40 years, with the Mk1 model having launched locally in 1978. While the Golf Mk1 made its debut in Europe in 1974, it took four more years for the front-wheel-drive hatchback to hit South Africa.

VW SA says production of the Golf at Uitenhage started with 65 units a day, with a local content of 57 percent. The initial launch price of the 1 100 cc L two-door was R3 985, while the line-up also included the LS four-door (R4 135) and the 1500 cc GLS four-door in manual and automatic (R4 940).

By April 1979, VW SA had produced its 20 000th Golf at Uitenhage and by February 1980, the 50 000th Golf rolled off the production line. By 1981, the 100 000th Golf had been produced, just over three years since its introduction.

In 1982, some four years after the launch of the Mk1, the Golf GTI was launched in South Africa. In 1983, the Golf Mk1 was replaced by a larger second-generation model, paving the way for Volkswagen SA to retain the Golf Mk1 so as to “maintain a presence” in the segment. Thus, the Citi Golf was born, going on to be produced for 25 years in South Africa with more 370 000 units sold before production ceased in 2009.

The Volkswagen Golf 3 arrived in 1992, while the Golf 4 made its debut in 1999. The fifth generation was launched in August 2004, with local production at Uitenhage ceasing in December 2008. In total, some 813 000 Golf units were built in South Africa.

The sixth-generation Golf was launched in South Africa in April 2009, while the Golf 7 arrived in February 2013.