The Volkswagen Rabbit was first seen in North America in
1975. It was actually the same car as the Volkswagen Golf
that debuted in Europe in the previous year, but was renamed
the Rabbit for the Western market.
The Volkswagen Bug had been very popular for years and had a
reputation throughout Europe and America for reliability,
low cost and certain coolness. Bug owners formed a loose-
knit social community and camaraderie that led to great
brand loyalty. But eventually Volkswagen was forced to
develop the Golf/Rabbit to compete with the flood of other
low-cost compact cars from Asia that was flowing into Europe
and the Americas.
The Rabbit became very popular with compact and economy car
owners, and was a great success in the United States and
Canada. The Beetle had a rear-mounted engine but the newer
Rabbit had a front-mounted and water-cooled inline engine
that, though not very powerful, was amazingly good on gas
In 1979, primarily because of the continued popularity of
the Rabbit, Volkswagen opened its first manufacturing plant
in the United States. Rabbits manufactured in the U.S. had
some changes in body and light styles, interiors that
matched the exteriors, and a new five-speed manual
transmission option that thrilled American buyers.
Volkswagen also eventually produced a convertible Rabbit and
stopped producing the convertible Bug.
Volkswagen switched the Rabbit's name back to the original
Golf in 1985, presumably to give it a new feel in the
American market, although many die-hard Rabbit fans were
disappointed and confused. The car remained the Golf for
twenty-one more years, until 1996 when the Mk V platform was
developed. In the early part of 2006 the brand new Rabbit
"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," according to Volkswagen's Director of
Brand Innovation, Kerri Martin, speaking in 2006. "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." ... "Even the name `Rabbit'
dramatizes the enhanced performance, playing off the car's
clever design, efficient size, agility and nimbleness."
This car, whether called Rabbit or Golf, is the best-selling
car in the world, with over twenty-five million sold over
all the five editions that have been released in the past
four decades. The latest edition has won many types of
awards, including top safety awards, all over the world.
The 2008 Volkswagen Rabbit ranks number five out of thirty-
five affordable small cars according to U.S. News & World
Report. It is available as either a two-door or as a four-
door hatchback, both with a 2.5-liter five-cylinder engine
with a five-speed manual or a six-speed automatic
List of Fictional Rabbits