German coachbuilder Karmann has long been associated with drop-top Volkswagens, but no longer.; VW told Automotive News that the next-generation Golf convertible, rumored to be built by Karmann, will instead be fabricated entirely in-house.
Shifting design and construction responsibilities for the new cabrio to VW's staff may save the automaker a large sum of money, but it couldn't come at a worse time for Karmann.; Like other European coachbuilders (Bertone and Pininfarina, to name two), Karmann has seen a number of manufacturing contracts simply fade away.
The company stopped producing the Chrysler Crossfire last winter, and will lose assembly contracts to assemble convertible variants of the Audi A4 and Mercedes-Benz CLK next year.; It was hoped that winning the Golf contract could offset the loss of these three models.
Karmann first produced convertibles for Volkswagen in 1949, chopping the top off the Beetle.; The company went on to produce the Karmann Ghia for VW from 1955 until 1974, and drop-top versions of the Golf/Rabbit from 1980 through 2001.; During that time, Karmann built nearly 600,000 examples for Volkswagen.
The new Golf cabrio, built upon the upcoming sixth-generation Golf, will debut in 2010.; To avoid competing with Volkswagen's premium convertible, the Eos, the Golf will be smaller and make do with a soft top.
Source: Automotive News