Volkswagen’s Rabbit returning as a sporty, nimble electric car in the US?

Is an all-electric Rabbit coming from Volkswagen? The small, nimble Beetle successor (hence Rabbit) was a hit in the US due to its Rabbit-like agility and low cost to own.

Volkswagen launched the Rabbit in North America in January 1975, known in Europe as the VW Golf.

The compact car quickly became the brand’s most popular model, surpassing the Beetle and higher-priced Dashers and Scirocco models of the time.

A New York Times article from 1976 states, “For the last three months, the Rabbit share of those sales has run about 50% or 8,000 a month.” The article mentions that buyers and auto critics “loved the little car’s roominess, handling, high speed, and fast acceleration — loved It.”

However, the post goes on to say, “That is, when it ran, which apparently wasn’t enough.” Consumer Reports magazine rated the Rabbit as its number-one small car but said, “Owners have reported considerable troubles with their car.”

In 1985, the Rabbit was renamed, as VW badged the second-generation model with the original Golf name.

1984 Mk1 Rabbit GTI and 2019 GTI Rabbit Edition (Source: VW)

Is Volkswagen planning an electric Rabbit for the US?

Although the Rabbit made its US return in 2006, it was discontinued again in 2009. The agile compact car is only available as a special edition of the Golf. However, don’t count it out too soon, as it may be making its return in the electric era.

Thomas Schäfer, CEO of Volkswagen Passenger Cars, posted a video of a rabbit on his LinkedIn with the caption, “At Volkswagen, we love the rabbit. The countdown is on! Stay Tuned.”

The announcement fueled speculation about a surprise debut at the Wolfsburg trade fair, according to German car newspaper Automobilwoche.

Several reports are predicting Volkswagen will release an electric Rabbit, or E-Rabbit, as the German automaker moves to an electric lineup.

Second-generation Volkswagen ID.3 (Source: VW)

VW already has the ID.3 electric compact car, which replaced the e-Golf in 2020. However, it’s not available in the US.

Electrek’s Take

A new electric Rabbit could help Volkswagen regain market share in the US with a cost-effective, fun-to-drive EV.

VW has yet to confirm if it will be electric or ICE, but given buyers and the top auto markets are trending toward EV, it would make the most sense.

Another possibility is that the Rabbit will be launched as a sportier version of the ID.3. We’ll find out more in seven days when VW plans to hold a press conference at the IAA Mobility in Munich.

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