Volkswagen Could Keep America from Getting an Electric GTI

The electric hatchback Volkswagen is not bringing to the U.S. should get some hotter siblings.

Volkswagen unveiled the long-awaited ID.3 hatchback on Monday. It looks great. It may be a revolutionary successor to the Golf for the EV market. But there are no current plans to bring the ID.3 to America. We’re likely getting an ID.4 crossover instead. That news may sting a little bit more, as Autocar in the U.K. reports that high-performance ID.3 versions should emerge within the next few years.

VW’s research and development head Frank Welsch told Autocar to expect a tiered performance lineup similar to the current Golf. “We should have the same as cars such as the Golf, the GTI and R. People like performance and I’m sure people will love performance in ID cars too.”

Referring to a potential ID.3 R, Volkswagen sales boss Jurgen Stackmann told Autocar that VW “should be able to deliver something meaningful in under five years.”

It’s hard to blame Volkswagen for favoring a crossover over a hatchback for its first ID vehicle in the U.S. market. Looking at the most recent sales numbers, the Atlas is up 39 percent year over year in 2019, and the Tiguan is up 28 percent. The base Golf is down a further 17 percent from a disastrous 2018. The outgoing Beetle Coupe has outsold the Golf.

One silver lining for a potential American ID.3 and hotter variants may be the e-Golf. Despite not being optimized for the American market with a 125-mile range, VW has sold more than three times as many e-Golfs as it did in 2018. That last-gen EV is currently outselling the Golf R in 2019. Maybe Volkswagen will see a market there.

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