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End of the ICE age? 2024 Volkswagen Golf Mk8.5 will be the last combustion Golf, 2026 T-Roc the last pure-ICE VW - report

The Volkswagen T-Roc is one of the brand’s most popular models, outselling the iconic Golf almost 2:1 here in 2023.

Despite pushback from Germany’s automotive sector and the nation’s government against EU regulations to ban the sale of new combustion cars by 2035, Volkswagen’s CEO has revealed the firm will produce its last internal combustion engine models within the next few years.

The next-generation Volkswagen T-Roc, due in 2026, will be the last internal combustion engine (ICE) VW produced under current plans, while the incoming facelift for the iconic VW Golf will be the last time a new version of the hatchback is released with an ICE.

Speaking to German publication Automobilwoche, Volkswagen’s CEO Thomas Schafer confirmed the brand’s models would all be replaced with electrified versions after 2026.

In the interview, Schafer said the T-Roc is the last new model with a combustion engine the brand sees on the horizon, though specified “in Europe”, which means there’s still scope for some markets to continue receiving petrol Volkswagens, particularly in developing economies or where emissions legislation is more relaxed.

It leaves the possibility of light-commercial vehicles continuing as ICE models in some markets, too, though with the new Amarok ute sharing a platform with the Ford Ranger, the basis for electrification is already set.

Schafer added that the possibility of the global market completely changing by the middle of the decade is still open, and that might change the brand’s plans, but he says it’s not likely.

UK outlet Autocar reports that Volkswagen in Europe had filed a trademark registration for ‘ID.Roc’, though were told by a VW spokesperson that it was simply to protect the name just in case.

“The move to trademark the ID Roc name is futureproofing,” the spokesperson said.

“We don’t have immediate plans for an electric T-Roc, but we see a model like this in the future. 

The next generation Golf is expected to be an EV. The next generation Golf is expected to be an EV.

“The current internal-combustion-engine T-Roc is one of our best-selling models, so we will not abandon this segment.”

With the small-SUV segment taking over from the small passenger car segment, the T-Roc is not only Europe’s most popular SUV, it’s also the most popular car VW sells in Australia for 2023… just about. It’s almost tied for sales up to the end of February with the T-Cross - 980 units for the T-Roc vs 982 for T-Cross.

As for the Golf, Volkswagen could turn what was to be the ID.2 into an electric next-gen model, possibly still following naming convention as the Golf Mk9 - though just as likely to be called the ID.Golf.