CountersteerYour true stories of good and bad things that happen in cars.  

We live in a time of great individuality. With online car configurators, it’s easier now than ever to get a car that suits you, and only you. Sort of. While you can choose paint and whether or not you want silly wheels, you can’t truly customize your car. Not really, anyways. And I’m wondering why not.

I got to thinking about this conundrum when I saw that the Volkswagen Golf Sportwagen configurator was live. A little wagon is great, and the most recent Golf I’ve driven, the absolutely delicious Volkswagen Golf R is even better, but sadly, you can’t spec a Golf R Sportwagen. The combination exists, but only in Europe. While most Golfs sold in the US are made in Mexico, the Golf R (and e-Golf, for that matter), are built in Volkswagen’s Wolfsburg, Germany plant, and shipped overseas to our golden shores.

And according to Automobile, Volkswagen only bothered to certify the Golf R’s 296-horsepower engine with the four-door hatch bodyshell.

But then I got to thinking a little bit more about the Golf I’d want. I wouldn’t want a Golf R Sportwagen, not precisely. I’d want a Golf R Sportwagen, but with the slightly softer suspension setup from the Volkswagen GTI, because the R suspension can get a bit harsh on terrible Northeast highways, and some fantastic plaid seats ripped out of the GTI as well.

That is exactly the Golf I’d want.

But I can’t get that Golf. If I want the R powertrain in America, I can only get a four-door hatch, and only with the R suspension. And I’m wondering why not. Yes, I understand the necessity of importation regulations, but if we broaden the scope of the question a bit, why can’t I get any car I want, really?

Advertisement

Why can’t I just order up a Cadillac Escalade with the engine from the CTS-V? They’re all made by Cadillac, so I don’t see why I can’t just check a few boxes, pay a little extra, and be done with it. Alright, on Volkswagen’s front, they’ve got to deal with some certification issues, but not every manufacturer has that excuse. GM did it in the 1960s with cars like the COPO Camaro, so I don’t see why GM, for example, can’t do it now.

But I’m a bit ignorant on this issue, and I haven’t been able to find a good answer yet why I can’t use an online manufacturer configurator to configure the car I truly want. Anyone out there got any theories?

Let me know in the comments below.


Contact the author at ballaban@jalopnik.com.

Public PGP key
PGP fingerprint: 0D03 F37B 4C96 021E 4292 7B12 E080 0D0B 5968 F14E