::: The Eighties environment
Volkswagen's range of new water-cooled cars were launched to a
generation with contradictory concerns. Memories of Vietnam and the
recent oil crisis were fading, but consumers were still troubled by the
threat of a recurring fuel shortage. At the same time, as demonstrated,
thoughts however had turned to pace. NASA, Concorde, and Star-Wars were
all making the headlines, and the public were preoccupied with speed.
Initial and even subsequent competition proved woefully inadequate
when compared to the dominant GTI, and whilst some could offer more
doors and more luggage room 'the Golf danced away with a repertoire of
grip, balance poise and, chiefly speed that still remains remarkable
today' (Frankel 1996 p5)
If a design team were to attempt to replicate the success of the Golf
GTI from a modern perspective, the market receptivity of the early
eighties would be the single hardest constituent to reproduce. Upon
consideration, an element of luck, however small, is nevertheless
apparent within this formula. A series of unplanned events defined the
concept, which was supplemented by a variety of incidents, that included
the coincidental home computer boom of 1983, and the subsequent
achievements of Giugiaro's more exotic designs.
Volkswagen were able to benefit from the mid-eighties income boom,
they contrived to raise prices and engineer demand but they, needless to
say, were not responsible for it.
The high volume