MK5 was on sale in Europe a full year before the US.
Also there wasn't a year gap between the US MK4 and MK5.
Dealers were sent crappy 2005 Model 2 Door 1.8T GTI's with mostly auto up till September 2005.
MK5 GTI was launched as a 2006 model in February 2006.
Aung San Suu Kyi
Several posters here have mentioned that VW is set to unveil the Mk VII at the Paris auto show in September, but some sources say that's just the Golf, and that the GTI won't debut until six months later, at the Geneva show in March. That's not to say that the Golf and GTI couldn't both go on sale in the US in the fall. But another source says the GTI won't be available (presumably in the UK) until the end of 2013.
Did previous GTIs lag behind Golfs here in the US?
The Golf has always been introduced later in the USA. How far back do you want to go? The original Golf was introduced in Europe in June 1974, in the US and Canada seven months later as the Rabbit. And of course, it took six years before we got the original GTI.