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Okay, we’re pretty sure April Fools Day is well behind us for 2006… but we’re not sure what to make of this strange move by Volkswagen. Apparently Volkswagen is dropping the Golf name in North America and bringing back the “Rabbit” nameplate. We’ll know more tomorrow when they make the official announcement. For now, here are a couple of photos and the press release.
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Full Volkswagen Press Release After The Jump
AUBURN HILLS, Mich.— In a surprise move, Volkswagen of America, Inc. announced today that its all-new fifth generation Golf, which debuted at the 2006 Chicago Auto Show, is going back to its roots with the original Rabbit nameplate for the U.S. and Canadian markets. The Rabbit will hop into the market in early summer, after its official introduction at the New York International Auto Show on Wednesday, April 12, 2006, at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center.
“The Rabbit was always exclusive to the U.S. and Canadian markets; while the rest of the world had the Golf, we had the iconic Rabbit,” said Volkswagen’s Director of Brand Innovation, Kerri Martin. “The reintroduction of the Rabbit represents Volkswagen’s commitment to this market and is a nod to the passionate North American enthusiasts who have an emotional connection with the Rabbit name.”
“Volkswagen customers want a relationship with their cars. Names like The Thing, Beetle, Fox, and Rabbit support this,” Martin added.
The Rabbit goes on sale this summer in both two and four-door versions, with pricing starting at $14,990 for the two-door. Standard features include an advanced ABS braking system, traction control, active front head restraints, front side airbags, air conditioning and anti-theft alarm system with remote locking. Always known for its value, this latest Rabbit is no exception, offering a high level of standard features and equipment at an attractive starting price.
The Rabbit was the first Volkswagen produced in the United States and its appeal grew rapidly, with sales of over 1.3 million in its 10-year lifespan. The Rabbit’s popularity can be credited to the wide array of standard features it offered at an attractive price. The 2006 Rabbit promises a return to the high-value, iconic status of the original.
“The Rabbit’s return to Volkswagen’s family is not an attempt to recreate the original car; today’s Rabbit is manufactured at our Wolfsburg production facility alongside the all-new GTI.”
The Rabbit, or Golf as it is well known throughout the rest of the world, is the world’s best-seller with over 25 million cars sold over five generations. This latest generation has already won more than 25 awards in more than sixteen countries. And, yesterday, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), announced that the 2006 Rabbit four-door received the Top Safety Pick, Silver award, based on the Institute’s frontal offset, side impact, and rear crash protection ratings.
Martin adds, “Even the name ‘Rabbit’ dramatizes the enhanced performance, playing off the car’s clever design, efficient size, agility and nimbleness. The Rabbit is back.”
The 2006 Rabbit benefits from its laser-welding production process, class-leading fit and finish, heightened body strength, crash protection, driving dynamics, and reduced interior noise.
Drivers of the Rabbit will benefit from it’s fully independent suspension system that uses a multi-link rear and optimized front axle, and will enjoy the new optional six-speed automatic transmission with TiptronicÂ® (five-speed manual standard). A new powerful engine with a larger displacement of 2.5 liters and five-cylinders generates 150 horsepower.
Also among the most impressive new driving advancements are a standard electro-mechanical steering system, and an optional advanced Electronic Stabilization Program (ESP).
The Rabbit also promises more interior room than ever with a large rear hatch opening. Legroom has also increased in this new version.
For added assurance, the Rabbit will come with 24-hour Roadside Assistance for four years with unlimited mileage and new vehicle warranties including:
â€¢Five-year/60,000 mile (whichever occurs first) Powertrain Limited Warranty
â€¢Four-year/50,000 mile (whichever occurs first) New Vehicle Limited Warranty â€¢12 year unlimited mileage Limited Warranty against corrosion perforation.
Founded in 1955, Volkswagen of America, Inc. is headquartered in Auburn Hills, Michigan. It is a subsidiary of Volkswagen AG, headquartered in Wolfsburg, Germany. Volkswagen is one of the world’s largest producers of passenger cars and Europe’s largest automaker. Volkswagen sells the Rabbit, New Beetle, Jetta, Passat, Touareg and Phaeton through more than 600 independent U.S. dealers.