How Canada Might Give You More Color Options on the Golf R

If you ever find yourself at Volkswagen’s Wolfsburg plant, you may be surprised to find Golf Rs in nearly every conceivable color. Fortunately, though, you don’t need to book a flight to Europe to see a Golf R in a funky factory color. You just need to head north of the border.

That’s because in 2017 Volkswagen Canada introduced a special color program that allows customers to buy the Golf R and the e-Golf in any one of 30 colors.

“[VW Germany] let us go back to the well to look at some old colors and some fresh colors that are only available in Europe,” says Thomas Tetzlaff, manager of public relations at VW Canada. “We looked at literally hundreds of samples and we selected 30 colors that we thought would play well with the e-golf and Golf R crowd.”

So far, the program is only available on sold orders, so a customer has to actually has to pick the color. As a result, you’re unlikely to find any of these oddly colored Golfs at a dealership—though enthusiasm has led to a few instances of rule breaking.

And the program is going well, says Tetzlaff. When it was introduced, the take rate on Golf Rs was 17% and since then all but one of the colors—Harvest Moon Beige—has been selected. The most popular color—as of publishing—is Ginster Yellow, but Viper Green and TNT Yellow aren’t far behind.

Tetzlaff admits, though, that he expected the program to be successful for the Golf R, but he wasn’t sure about how well it would work on the e-Golf.

“E-Golf, though, has been a very pleasant surprise because we expected those buyers to be a little more conservative. Wrong. They’re picking some funky colors, too,” says Tetzlaff. “The color transcends the model.”

And the success of the program is attracting attention.

“Whether or not the US follows us I don’t know, but I do know that they’re watching us very closely,” says Tetzlaff, and VW USA admits it.

“We’re watching what they’re doing closely,” says Megan Garbis, product manager for the Golf family.

And while VW of America is keeping an eye on the program, Garbis says that VW is as interested, if not more, in the program’s success with customers as it is about its success with the accountants.

As far as Tetzlaff can see, though, the program has been a success on all fronts. The program taps into an enthusiasm that’s always been there, just expressed differently.

“I look at kids today spending 3, 4 grand to wrap their cars. Arguably it looks better in a wrap, but it’s still just a wrap,” he argues. “This is from the factory, everything is that color. The door sill, the pillars. It’s huge for enthusiasts. We see almost every delivery of one of these cars [on social media. Cause the owners, as soon as they get home, they post about it. It’s nice to see enthusiasm.”

The program’s success in Canada, at the very least, means that it will continue into the future, though not all of the colors will.

Like relegation rules in England’s soccer leagues, VW Canada will cut a given number of the worst performing colors—say, five—and introduce the same amount back.

“If we get one order of pink, we’re glad that person’s happy, but pink’s gone,” says Tetzlaff. “We’ll come in with light pink or dark pink. We’ll try something different.”

Why cut any colors at all? Tetzlaff likens it to the menu at a restaurant. Having too many options can be paralyzing.

“It’s like going to a restaurant and there’s 20 different kinds of eggs,” he says. It’s just too much. So instead a few new colors will be introduced at regular intervals, keeping the options fresh.

Before you know it, Volkswagen USA might be keeping color options fresh, too.

The colors currently available in Canada are:

Harvest Moon Beige

Champagne Metallic

Terra Brown

Jazz Blue Pearl

Techno Blue Pearl

Inky Blue Pearl

Laser Blue Pearl

Prussian Blue Metallic

Azure Blue Pearl

Deep Blue Pearl

Sarantos Turquoise

’91 Blue

Ice Blue

Viper Green Metallic

Racing Green

Reseda Green

Cliff Green

Irish Green

Magma Orange

Copper Orange

TNT Orange

Violet Touch Pearl

Traffic Purple

Dark Violet Pearl

Mars Red

Bordeaux Red Pearl

Hot Chili Pearl

Raspberry Red

Ginster Yellow

Curry Yellow