The VW Golf Is Car Of The Year -- But That Doesn't Mean VW Is In Good Shape

Volkswagen executives Michael Horn (left) and Heinz-Jakob Neuser stand with the Volkswagen Golf, named the North American Car Of The Year at the 2015 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, on January 12, 2015© AFP Geoff RobinsVolkswagen executives Michael Horn (left) and Heinz-Jakob Neuser stand with the Volkswagen Golf, named the North American Car Of The Year at the 2015 North American International Auto Show.

The Volkswagen Golf was named North American Car of the Year at the Detroit Auto Show on Monday, while Ford picked up the honours in the truck category.

The Golf saw off fierce competition from the Ford Mustang and Hyundai Genesis to take the prestigious award at the North American International Auto Show in a resurgent Detroit.

Ford’s F-150 pick-up triumphed ahead of Chevrolet’s Colorado and the Lincoln MKC in the truck segment. 

The winners were decided by a jury of 57 journalists and based on qualities including design, safety, performance and value.

So, bravo Volkswagen for securing the honour. The Golf is actually a nice car, a terrific compact hatchback that’s ideal for a wide range of drivers, from college students to singles to newlyweds to retirees. It’s peppy, handles well, and summarizes a certain strain in VW thinking that’s been prevalent for decades: the small car that acts big.

That said, the accolade isn’t going to change VW’s fortunes much in the US. 

Volkswagen declared years ago that it would bolster its presence in the US market, but even as sales in American have steadily risen for just about everyone, VW has witnessed its market share stall. It’s miles below leaders like General Motors and Toyota.

Auto journalists might admire VW’s cars. But Americans don’t want to buy them.

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