Golf V Part VII: Golf Chronology Share Comments Below is a chronologic listing of the last four generations of Golf’s (A1-A4 generations)…. The first generation (1974 until 1983): The Golf generation I was launched in 1974 and is still available today, albeit extensively optimised, as an economically priced entry-level model in South Africa parallel to the current model range. Number produced so far: 6.8 million units. 1974: Debut of the first Golf 1976: 500,000th Golf in March 1,000,000th Golf in October First Golf GTI First Golf with diesel engine 1978: 2,000,000th Golf in June Debut of the US version Rabbit in July 1979: 3,000,000th Golf in September First Golf cabriolet Debut of the Caddy delivery van Facelift 1982: 5,000,000th Golf in February First Golf with turbodiesel engine (GTD) 1983: phase-out of the first generation in Western Europe after the production of 6,780,050 units The second generation (1983 until 1991) The Golf generation II followed in 1983. 6.3 million units of this generation were produced in ten years – on average approximately 630,000 units per year. 1983: Debut of the second Golf 1984: First Golf with closed-loop catalytic converter Debut of the second Golf GTI 1985: 7,000,000th Golf in March 1986: First Golf (GTI) with 4-valve petrol engine First Golf syncro with visco coupling (four-wheel drive) Golf syncro starting August – the first Golf with ABS 1987: ABS available for all GT and GTI models Closed-loop catalytic converter also available for smaller engines Facelift Golf GT syncro becomes first model with ABS standard 1988: Debut of the Rallye Golf G60 Debut of the Golf Limited G60 10,000,000th Golf in June 1989: 11,000,000th Golf in October Debut of the Golf City Stromer and Golf Hybrid 1990: all Golf petrol models available with closed-loop catalytic converter from February Debut of the Golf Country 1,000,000th Golf GTI in November 12,000,000th Golf in November 1991: First Golf from the Mosel plant near Zwickau in March Phase-out of the second generation in Western Europe after the production of 6,301,000 units The third generation (1991 until 1997) The Golf generation III, of which 4.8 million units were built, was presented to its core markets in 1991. In the nine year period up until and including 1999 (initially, it was produced in parallel with the Golf generation IV), this Golf was – again, statistically – sold to over 530,000 customers per year. 1991: Debut of the third Golf First Golf diesel with oxidation catalytic converter First Golf with six-cylinder engine (VR6); simultaneously the first model in the lower mid-range with six-cylinder 1992: 13,000,000th Golf in February Driver and front passenger airbag available from August 1993: First Golf with turbodiesel direct injection (TDI) engine Debut of the second Golf cabriolet First Golf Variant Debut of the second Golf syncro 14,000,000th Golf in March 1994: 15,000,000th Golf in May 1995: First Golf with naturally aspirated diesel direct injection (SDI) engine 1996: 20th anniversary of the Golf GTI / anniversary model of the Golf GTI First Golf GTI with turbodiesel engine All Golf models available with ABS standard from September Introduction of optional side airbags 17,000,000th Golf in November 1997: phase-out of the third generation in Western Europe after production of 4,805,900 units The fourth generation (1997 until 2003) The Golf generation IV debuted in 1997. Over the last seven years until 2003, 4.3 million units of the bestseller were produced and, on average, approximately 614,000 units were sold per year. 1997: Debut of the fourth Golf with fully galvanised body First Golf with five-cylinder engine (V5) 1998: Debut of the new Golf Cabriolet First Golf 4MOTION with Haldex viscous coupling Introduction of optional ESP 1999: Second Golf Variant First TDI engines with pump-injector unit technology in the Golf First Golf 4MOTION V6 with six-speed gearbox 25th anniversary of the Golf / anniversary model Golf Generation 19,000,000th Golf in June ESP becomes standard equipment in Germany 2000: new TDI engines with 74 kW / 100 bhp and 110 kW / 150 bhp V5 with four valves per cylinder now develops 125 kW / 170 bhp 20,000,000th Golf 2001: more powerful 1.9 TDI with 96 kW / 130 bhp replaces the 85 kW TDI 1.9 TDI with 74 kW /100 bhp meets Euro4 emission standard Golf GTI 132 kW as special edition marking the 25th anniversary of the Golf GTI 2002: First Golf with petrol direct injection (FSI with 81 kW) Golf GTI now standard with 132 kW / 180 bhp In addition to the front and side airbags, the head airbags are included in the standard equipment Production of the Golf overtakes the Beetle, at 21,517,415 units of the most-produced Volkswagen model Debut of the Golf R32, the most powerful Golf ever with 177 kW / 241 bhp 2003: The Golf is offered in seven trim versions (Golf, Trendline, Comfortline, Highline, GTI, V6, R32) and with 14 engine variants Debut of the direct shift gearbox DSG® in the Golf R32 End of year: phase-out of the fourth generation after sales of more than 4.3 million units End of August 2003: world premiere of the fifth Golf generation For more discussion on this story, click on the link to our discussion forums to the left. 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