The Austrian village of Reifnitz, located on the shores of Lake Wörthersee and forming part of the municipality of Maria Wörth, has played host to an annual meet for Volkswagen GTI fans going all the way back to 1982. VW itself has joined the fun and used the event to introduce new models and concepts in the past.
The event hasn't run since 2019 due to pandemic, and now the municipality of Maria Wörth has decided to cancel it due to the sustainability concerns of locals. In a statement issued in February, the municipality said the huge growth of the event in recent years led to reduced acceptance by the locals of the small village. The municipality also cited the effects of climate change among the reasons for canceling the event.
The GTI meet will return, but it will take place in the German city of Wolfsburg, where Volkswagen Group's headquarters are located, and where the current Golf GTI is built. VW said last week that the first running of the new GTI meet in Wolfsburg will take place in 2024.
“Our GTI fans are of great importance to Volkswagen and that's why the exchange with them is very dear to us," Imelda Labbé, head of sales, marketing, and after sales at the VW brand, said in a statement. "For this reason, after the GTI meeting at Lake Wörthersee was unfortunately canceled, we decided pretty quickly to offer the GTI fan community a new home for the event.”
VW said the new meet will continue to host vehicle presentations, stage shows, and GTI club events, in addition to new events and some surprises. The automaker also said Wolfsburg has the space and infrastructure to support a large meet like the one that has traditionally taken place in Reifnitz.