Volkswagen Citi Golf

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Volkswagen Citi Golf
VW Citi Golf R-Line.jpg
Overview
Manufacturer Volkswagen
Production 1984–August 2009
Assembly Uitenhage, South Africa
Body and chassis
Class Small family car
Body style 5-door sedan (Fox)
5-door hatchback (Citi Golf)
2-door coupé utility (Caddy)
Layout Front-engine, front-wheel-drive
Related Volkswagen Golf Mk1
Chronology
Predecessor Volkswagen Beetle
Successor Volkswagen Polo Vivo

The Volkswagen Citi Golf was a car produced by Volkswagen in South Africa from 1984 until 21 August 2009. It was a face-lifted version of the original Volkswagen Golf Mk1 hatchback, which ceased production in Germany in 1983. The car was produced only with right-hand drive.

History[edit]

When Volkswagen released the Golf Mk.1 in 1974, the car was an overnight success. It was easy and economical to drive with exceptionally good handling compared to other small hatchbacks of the time. It was also easy and inexpensive to maintain. Volkswagen South Africa started assembly of the Golf Mk.1 in 1978. When the Golf Mk.2 was launched in 1984, VW South Africa found themselves falling short of a demand for a small, affordable entry level car, as the Golf Mk.2 was bigger and somewhat more expensive than its predecessor. The best viable option for VW South Africa, was to continue producing some variant of the Mk.1 to fill the gap in the market, as they already had all the tooling in place at the VW assembly plant in Uitenhage, Eastern Cape. Additional tooling was imported from the VW assembly plant in Westmoreland, Pennsylvania, USA in 1988, when production of the Mk.1 ceased there. VW South Africa decided to use only the 5-door body shell as a platform for the Citi Golf, as the tooling for the 3-door body style would take up floor space that could rather be utilised for the production of the Golf Mk.2.

The first concept for the "new" Golf Mk.1 was a basic, stripped-down version of the pre-1984 Mk.1, which would be called the "EconoGolf". This concept was soon scrapped because it became apparent that the result too closely resembled the Mk.1's of the 1970s, an appearance that would soon go out of fashion. After extensive market research, it was decided that the Mk.1 would be "re-branded", so as to breathe new life into the Mk.1 design. The first 3 prototypes were painted bright red, yellow and blue, with white wheels, bumpers, and decals on the doors, the latter bearing the "CITI" insignia on the lower rear doors. Decals were added to the tailgate as well, also bearing the "CITIGOLF" branding. A slightly more powerful, South African modified version of the standard 1.3-litre engine was fitted.

The original Citi Golf was only available in 3 colours (a fact highlighted in the contemporary advertising campaign which used a tagline "Red, Yellow, Blue... Not Green!"). (The colour themes for the advertising campaigns of the first few years of production, were partially inspired by the works of Dutch artist Piet Mondrian). In mid 1985, a new, high performance Citi Golf variation was launched as a 1.6-litre carburettor-engined Sport (with advertising tagline "New Citigolf Sport, drive it home, Sport, drive it home."). The 1.6-litre engine of the Citi Golf Sport was later replaced by a higher output 1.8-litre carburettor engine. Upon the launch of the Citi Golf Sport, a new colour, specially reserved for the Sport model, was also introduced. The red, yellow and blue paintwork was now also complemented by a black-with-white-decals colour scheme.

Initially, the bodywork was identical to that of the superseded Mk.1 Golf, but in September 1988, a locally penned facelift gave it a sloping grille, similar to that of the Golf Mk.2, as well as more modern "deep" bumpers (similar in design to the early 1980s Mk.1 bumpers, with added integrated lower aprons). The profile of the fenders was also altered to accommodate the more modern grille. A crease in the shape of an ice-hockey stick was also added to the C-pillar behind the rear doors. This crease not only served as a decoration, but it assisted in elimination of smaller creases in the large area of the C-pillar during pressing. It was also at this time that the Citi Golf Sport was also fitted with the bigger 1781cc 70 kW engine, and a five speed semi-close ratio gearbox from the Golf Mk.2 GTS.

In 1990, Volkswagen South Africa reintroduced the Golf Mk.1 GTi as the Citi CTi. Using basically the same 1.8-litre 82 kW Bosch K-Jetronic fuel-injected engine as the original Golf Mk.1 GTi, the Citi CTi was then the fastest Citi Golf ever made, with a top speed of just over 180 km/h. This was a welcome addition to the Citi Golf range, as it was aimed at younger drivers who were looking for a more zippy car at a more affordable price. The Golf Mk.2 GTi was too far up-market for the younger VW performance vehicle fanatics.

Around 1989, a strange "first of its kind" colour appeared on the Citi Golf. Rumour has it that a cosmetics company (it's not known which one), had specially requested to order a small, also unknown, number of pink Citi Golfs directly from the factory, to be used by their sales representatives. In 1991, this scenario surfaced again when Volkswagen South Africa realised that the pink paint scheme might become popular among women. Volkswagen soon saw that the pink was not such a great idea, as these vehicles sold very slowly. Only 93 units were eventually built.

From around 2001-2002, all Citi Golf models were fitted with quad headlamps, rear window wiper-washer and fender-mounted sideways-facing indicator lights as standard equipment.

In 2004, the Citi Golf received a facelift that included a new dashboard lifted from the Škoda Fabia, as well as larger front side windows. The rear wiper-washer combination was also moved into the glass of the (now standard) heated rear window to give the car a more sleek appearance. Along with this modification, the rear window was curved in such a way that it resembled a sort of "bubble"-like appearance, presumably to eliminate the annoying reflection of sunlight from the flat, steeply sloped window into the eyes of other drivers following behind.

The 2006 facelift saw modifications to the front bumper (adding a second grille in the integrated apron) as well as new, unique-to-South-Africa taillights incorporating a circular inset taillight–brakelight combination. Before this facelift, all Citi Golfs were fitted with the early 1980s style rear tail light cluster very much like those on the Euro Mk.1s, but these were now locally manufactured by Hella.

Throughout the Citi Golf's 25-year lifespan, hundreds of small and large mechanical modifications were also made to the model, to comply with more strict local emission and safety standards. (E.g. by 2008, all carburetor engines were replaced by more efficient fuel-injected units)

A sedan version called the Fox (Volkswagen Jetta A1) was also produced, along with a coupé utility called the Caddy. Both of these models were discontinued before the Citi Golf hatchback production halted.

The Citi Golf, Caddy and Fox models are no longer in production in South Africa. After production of the Citi Golf ceased in 2009, the body shape of the mid-2000s Polo was also retained, but stripped down and re-marketed as the Polo Vivo, to replace the entry level segment that the Citi Golf had filled for 25 years. The Vivo is still in production alongside the new Polo, as of March 2014. The sedan versions of these vehicles are being built in India and Brazil respectively.

Many "Special Edition" Citi Golfs carrying unique trim and equipment combinations have been released throughout the car's production run and include the "Designa" and the "Citi.com", the latter of which, in theory, was available only if ordered over the Internet. Another special edition called the "Deco" introduced colour-coded leather seats to the car in 1995. It was available in three derivatives, namely red, green and a special electric blue. The latter was initially only offered on the Citi but was later transferred to other Volkswagen models as well. The "VeloCiti" model, which included the 1.8iR, was one of the best sellers. Other limited editions included the Citi Billabong and Citi Xcite. The most recent special edition is the "GTS", which takes its cues from the original GTS. Only 375 Citi GTS's were ever built.

The last addition to the Citi Golf lineup is the Citi 1.8iR, which was unveiled at the Auto Africa Expo during October 2006 in Johannesburg. It features enhanced styling and specification, including a full bodykit, partial leather front seats, and aluminium trim on the dashboard. The engine is a 1.8-litre fuel-injected unit which, although it shares its displacement with the iconic CTi, pushes out 8 kW of extra power, taking it up to 90 kW. VWSA claims that it can accomplish 0 to 100 km/h in 8.5 seconds. This was also a limited edition and only 375 units were made between 2006 and 2008.

End of production and replacement[edit]

The Citigolf came to the end of production in South Africa after 25 years on 21 August 2009. A special version of the Citigolf, called the Citi Mk1, was released as a celebratory model. These are numbered 1 to 1000 and have several special features including lowered suspension, 15” alloy wheels, tinted windows, a leather sports steering wheel with airbag, and chrome foil side stripes.[1]

On 11 March 2010, it was announced that it would be replaced by a version of the Mk. 4 Polo, called the Polo Vivo, despite these two cars belonging to entirely different classes. [1]


References[edit]

  1. ^ http://www.goodbyeciti.co.za/ VWSA Citi Mk1
  2. ^ Automobil Revue, catalogue 2007,p.527.
  3. ^ http://www.vw.co.za/assets/downloads/brochures/Citi_Brochure_May2009.pdf
  4. ^ http://www.vw.co.za/assets/downloads/brochures/Citi_GTS_Leaflet-2009.pdf
  5. ^ http://www.vw.co.za/assets/downloads/brochures/Citi_Mk1_Leaflet.pdf

External links[edit]