Volkswagen Group Japan KK will introduce the fourth-generation Golf to the Japanese market in August after making significant changes to the popular compact car, an executive of the German automaker announced on Monday.

The automaker will launch four types of the new Golf in two stages — in late August and in early 1999 — with price tags between 2.5 million yen and 3.35 million yen.

The firm hopes the new Golf will help increase sales of its products in the Japanese market as one of three pillars together with the Polo and Passat. “Since present market conditions make it difficult to expect any significant increase in sales over the next two years, we want to consolidate our position as a No. 1 importer,” said Peter Nochar, executive vice president of Volkswagen Group Japan.

The firm hopes to sell 16,000 units of the new Golf by the end of this year. Although the automaker slightly increased its market share in the imported car market in Japan to 16.1 percent in the first half of 1998, the number of registered cars dropped 23 percent to 21,456 units from the same period in the previous year, Nochar said.

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