So it turns out that three really is the magic number - at least as far as Volkswagen is concerned. After much anticipation, the brand has confirmed that its first electric ID model, in concept form known simply as the ID, will be called the ID 3.
In all honesty, when I first heard, I was a little disappointed. Plenty of car firms use number-based systems for car nomenclature, but VW has always used names. Models such as the Golf and Polo, and more recently the Tiguan and Touareg, all have real brand values. Sure, there are examples with distinction, such as the Porsche 911 and BMW 3 Series, but those are long-established models that have built up value in their title through the quality of product.
To me, great car names have a value that a simple number can’t. But, from Volkswagen’s perspective, the ID 3 title as part of an ID 1-10 range makes sense.For one thing, Volkswagen uses the number 3 internally to classify Golf-sized hatchbacks, which the ID 3 is. And the firm claims that 3 also stands for the third major chapter in its history, after the Beetle and Golf. Mildly tenuous? Sure, but it makes some sense, so we’ll go with that.
More practically, using numbers avoids any problems that can arise from words having different meanings in different languages and different countries. (Remember the Skoda Yeti?)
And, most significant, using numbers puts the focus firmly on the ID electric range itself. At the ID pre-booking launch, sales boss Jürgen Stackmann highlighted how the ID range will be a whole new parallel family of cars, with ID - which isn’t actually an acronym for anything specific - effectively serving as the brand’s figurehead as it pivots further towards an electric future.
Given how rapidly the ID range is set to grow in the coming years, I'll grudgingly admit, as someone who prefers cars with proper names, that using numbers and putting the focus on the family of cars makes sense.
The ID 3 isn’t significant for what it’s called, but for what it stands for. Here’s another number that’s more significant: 100,000. That’s the number of ID 3s VW plans to produce in Europe next year. And the significance of that to the electric car market is huge, no matter what the car is called…