Dead: Volkswagen Scirocco

Illustration for article titled Dead: Volkswagen Scirocco

The time has come to mourn the death of yet another sporty car nameplate. This one doesn’t affect the North American market, and while inevitable, it’s kind of a bummer nonetheless. The Volkswagen Scirocco is no more.


Volkswagen’s German site and various media outlets confirmed the hatchback’s death this week, saying that prospective buyers in the markets where the Scirocco is sold cannot order new ones, but can only buy the current supply. As Volkswagen deals with the massive costs of its diesel emissions cheating scandal, and retools to focus on electric vehicles and giant SUVs that Americans might actually buy, no Scirocco replacement is in sight—or likely to happen at all.

A bit of a shame, but also not surprising. The Scirocco resurrected a sporty Golf-based hatchback that ran from the 1970s through the early 1990s and has become something of a well-loved collector’s item among VW weirdos and people with good taste.

The current one went on sale in 2008 and has actually been based on the Mark V Golf, so the current Golf and GTI far surpass it in technology. It never went on sale in the U.S., although we did snag one for a weekend years ago so we could take it to Ikea.

Despite being basically just a hotter Golf with a more stylish body, American fans clamored for VW to bring the car stateside for years. It never happened. It would’ve been too expensive, VW said, and might eat into GTI and Golf R sales.

The top-shelf Scirocco at the moment is the 217 horsepower GTS; the 276 horsepower Scirocco R was phased out some time ago. Unlike the Golf R, it only came in front-wheel drive.


I once heard a story about the Scirocco from a well-connected industry friend. You should take it with a grain of salt; I heard it second- or third-hand and I’m not even sure if it’s true. But it is plausible.

Anyway, the story goes that at one of the more recent European auto shows a senior Volkswagen engineer took a crowd of his younger staff to the Ford stand, where sat the then-new 2015 Mustang that had just gone on sale in that continent. The senior engineer told his team “That’s what you’re up against,” before proceeding to berate them in German. He was talking about the Scirocco.


At any rate, the Mustang, while more expensive, totally has the Scirocco outclassed in terms of power and driving dynamics and has since gone on to become the best-selling sports car in Europe. Even Volkswagen’s own GTI and Golf R make for more practical and modern propositions. Considering the competition it now faces, and the general global market shift toward crossovers and SUVs, it’s easy to see why the Scirocco died and hard to see why VW would want to put any effort into replacing it.

Still, I’d like to live in a world where there are more sporty coupe options, not fewer ones, so I’ll still pour one out for the Scirocco. Maybe we’ll see them stateside in 25 years.

Editor-in-Chief at Jalopnik. 2002 Toyota 4Runner.


I would argue that killing off an underpowered, impractical, two-door hatch, based on an outdated platform, that everybody clamoured for, but nobody bought, is just responsible management. Failing to address obvious shortfalls is the stuff that gets CEOs dismissed, so good on Herr VW Manager for saving his own skin.