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VW Golf

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  • vocusvocus Posts: 7,777
    Sorry, but I have to majorly disagree with you on the Echo vs. Golf point. First, the Echo is just as safe as a Camry in crash tests. While I know it will fare not as well in the real world, there are alot of determining factors in accidents. Secondly, the Golf is not markedly heavy (about 500 or so lbs. more) than the Echo. It is a safer design though, but also the price is alot higher too.
  • moparbadmoparbad Posts: 3,842
    Golf weighs 2934 lbs. Echo weighs 2160 lbs. That is a big difference. The Golf comes standard with 6 airbags. Echo standard with 2. Golf has standard ABS and Echo is very difficult to even find one with ABS. Golf has 5 star crash test result (highest possible) from NHTSA and Echo has ratings of 4 star and 3 star. Toyota Camry better crash test results than Echo.
    Option the Echo as close as possible to Golf and the MSRP for the Echo is $14,875. Compared to MSRP for a Golf GL of $16,000 (estimated cost for 2002 GL 4 door) I will choose the Golf every time.
    The Echo I drove simply gave me the impression of an economy car and the Golf gave me the impression of a compact luxury car.
    The Toyota is more likely to have greater reliability, but I choose the fun and safety and comfort of VW.
  • weatherdanweatherdan Posts: 28
    The "blue book" and edmunds.com trade-in values for my Golf are between $12,600 and $13,600. A comparable 2001 Golf GLS with luxory package, CD and auto transmission is probably around $18,500 I'm guessing. My sister, also a lawyer but not the one I contacted, also thinks VW is low-balling me with their offer.

    Yes, they did call me and left a message on my answering machine at my office.
  • vocusvocus Posts: 7,777
    You definitely need to talk to a lawyer. Maybe you should get VW to offer you a free extended warranty up to 100,000 miles. That would then cover all your problems. Also, get them to bump your money up to $2000. Get both and you will be in business.
  • weatherdanweatherdan Posts: 28
    Yeah, the extended warranty would be great except that I already bought one when I started having problems before my original warranty expired. D'oh! I forgot to mention VW did offer to extend my warranty for another year but since I already have another 7 year/70,000 mile warranty it does not help. More important, the extended warranty does not address the root of the problem which is the car's need for frequent service.

    Meanwhile re: check engine light, I have started noticing a distinct sulfur/rotten egg smell coming in through the dash vents once the engine heats up so I suspect there may be a problem with either the emission controls and/or the catalytic converter.
  • howachowac Posts: 52
    Weatherdan,
    I know how you must feel now. I was in the same situation. My wife's 2000 Golf GLS was also a lemon. We bought it new in June 2000 and it was officially purchased back by VW of America in January 2001. It had less than 4000 miles on it. Let me share some of the things that I learned throughout the whole ordeal first then I'll say a little more about our case.

    Since you've already contacted a lawyer, I suppose you're probably familiar with the Lemon Laws in Virginia. (We live in California and I guess VW lemons are everywhere.) If you need more info, www.carlaws.com has quite of bit of useful stuff. My feel is that VW of A is trying to get away with selling you a lemon. Don't give them the opportunity to mess with you again! Let them pay for the inconvenience and emotional trauma that you endured. We contacted the Autoline of the Better Business Bureau and initiated the mediation process (www.dr.bbb.org/autoline.cfm or 800-955-5100). I highly recommend looking into this, as it is the most effective tool you have to fight against VW and it's free! You'll have to prepare some paperwork (records of repairs and other complaints, etc.) but it sure beats filing a lawsuit. Oh, we didn't even get to the point where we needed to contact a lawyer. What the BBB Autoline does is act as the mediator between the consumer and the manufacturer to help resolve the problems. If that turns out to be unsuccessful, you can then go to arbitration. I firmly believe that you will have a winning case and get your car officially "lemoned" without resorting to further legal actions beyond arbitration. In our case, the more we looked into the lemon laws, the more we realized that we had a good case against VW. Your case sounds even better than ours! Doing the research ourselves also gave us a sense of power (not that it'll solve your problems, but at least you'll gain some confidence). At the end, VW settled with us before we continued to arbitration and agreed to refund every penny of our money and re-purchase the car "out of goodwill," according to their offer letter. So technically, our car was not lemoned. Instead, VW did not admit any wrongdoing and can turn around and sell the car if they wanted to. But at least we were out of the misery. (I feel bad for whoever ends up buying the car we had, though.) Please do yourself a favor and look into the lemon laws if you haven't done so. That said, there are limitations and restrictions under the laws, so pay close attention to whether you meet all the requirements. If you do, then you should be in excellent shape to stage a comeback. Some lemon laws automatically consider a car a lemon if it's been in the dealer for warranty repairs more than a total of 30 days in the first 18 months of ownership. Don't let them offer you a one-year extension of the warranty (they tried to offer us the same thing), or pay you $1500 towards the purchase of a new VW. They should be responsible for your losses and you shouldn't pay or take a hit financially for their mistake.

    In case you're interested, here's a condensed version of our VW Golf horrors that began 2 weeks after we bought it:
    Screeching sound from brakes when the brakes are NOT applied
    Brake lights stay on when the pedal is not depressed
    Cruise control inoperable
    Same brake light problem again after brake light switch was replaced the first time
    Immobilizer kicked in erroneously and car wouldn't start. (This turned out to be the dealer's fault when they replaced the engine control module to fix the cruise control.)
    Squeaking noises from the dash (numerous repair attempts)
    Cruise control failed again
    Brake light switch problem again (this time the lights won't come on so the automatic transmission cannot be shifted out of Park).
    Power mirror switch broke

    For these repeating problems, we visited the dealer probably 10 times or more in the first 5 months. To add to the bad experience, the local dealer was absolutely horrible (ignorant and apathetic). We were just so glad and relieved that we got our money back. Now my wife drives a 2001 Honda Civic EX and we're both very happy with it. I have to admit that my wife and I both loved the Golf (when it was functioning properly). It was more fun to drive and had some neat features, but I'll not consider buying another VW product (Audi included). It's just not worth the risk and the trouble. I understand that every manufacturer will inevitably have a few lemons every now and then, but buying a VW (especially one that's not made in Germany) increases that chance by several orders of magnitude. Our Golf was assembled in Brazil (VIN number starts with a 9) and I really believe that the workmanship and quality control there are not as good as the German plants. Even though people say that all VW's plants are held to the same "stringent" quality standards, it is hard to doubt that Germany is a far better place to produce complex machinery than Brazil. You don't see Mercedes, BMW, or Lexus building their cars in developing countries. If all the plants had the same quality, then J.D. Powers and Associates wouldn't need to bother giving out quality awards to individual plants. Incidentally, all the award-winning plants are in Japan, Germany, or the U.S., NOT Brazil.

    Anyway, enough said. Weatherdan, I hope you will stand up and fight for yourself and wish you the best luck!
  • weatherdanweatherdan Posts: 28
    Wow! Thanks so much for the superb information. I am "digesting" it now. www.carlaws.com has excellent information too. I am concerned that I may not have met the notification requirement as my first official contact with VW (beyond the dealer obviously) would have been after the 18-month limit stipulated in the Virginia law. And that was via telephone. Of course I am not a lawyer. My warranty expired on 4/17/01. I will consider BBB Autoline. I noted on www.carlaws.com that, at least according to that attorney, "swaps" that occur when there has not been supposed proper notification often involve the dealer offering at least $2500. I was offered $1500. Hmmm! It was also interesting to read your repeated problems as I had my door lock malfunction supposedly "repaired" four separate times although it was after the inital 18 months (first occurence was 18 months and 1 week after, wouldn't ya know it?). But the rear seat seatbelt jam occurred repeated within the 18 month period and it certainly is a safety item! Again, thanks very much for your comments and valuble information. That was very generous of you and I sincerely appreciate it.
  • moparbadmoparbad Posts: 3,842
    For those of you who read the Golf forum and are scared away from VW I suggest you read the Honda Accord Problems in Maintenance and Repair Section. 1446 messages on items such as vibrating steering, failed transmissions (post 1433), moving seats, A/C problems, and etc.
    I currently have a Golf TDI (from Brazil) that is 100% problem free and I also owned an Accord a few years ago that was 100% problem free.
    If you have a VW that is a lemon then either get VW to replace it or repurchase it. Don't think that you are guaranteed to be lemon free by buying a Toyota or Honda.
    Some steps to avoid having a lemon.
    1. Buy from a dealer with a good service reputation. A dealer with bad service will create a lemon by being unable to correctly diagnose and repair a problem. If there is no good VW dealer in your area, don't get a VW.
    2. Do not buy a vehicle the first year of a new model.
    3. Do not let the service deptmartment have 10 attempts to fix the same problem. If they can't fix a problem on the second attempt then hold their feet to the fire and get VWoA involved.
    4. Be educated. My Nissan truck has a problem with carrier bearing that is extremely common, I discovered this problem by communicating with other owners on the internet. If you have a problem that is widespread then the manufacturer should have to fix it even if the car is out of warranty.
    Don't let one lemon sour your opinion on a manufacturer.
    I went to a gatering a few weeks ago where there were 20 plus VW owners, the majority of the owners were extremely happy, one of the owners had very frightening stories about dealership service experiences.
  • howachowac Posts: 52
    Weatherdan,
    I'm glad that you found the information useful. At least my experience with a bad VW Golf helped another fellow consumer who fell victim to a lemon. We were lucky that we smelled something fishy and acted early enough to prevent further damage. I think you still have a great chance of winning the war.

    Even though you might not meet all the requirements under Virginia's lemon laws, I still think you have an excellent chance if you go through BBB's Autoline. They will assign you an agent and a case number and you can provide them all the relevant information. I have a feeling that VW won't settle with you very easily during the first stage of mediation (they offered to extend our warranty and 1 month's loan payment as compensation). Eventually they offered to examine our car and attempt one last repair and if it failed, buy the car back. But just insist on having the car lemoned. It doesn't hurt to try! Take it to the next level and go to arbitration if you need to. It is still free and you should be able to manage it without a lawyer. Arbitration gives both sides (you and VW of A) the opportunity to present their case in front an independently selected "arbitrator" (sort of like a judge in a regular courtroom). The arbitrator is selected by BBB from a pool of ordinary citizens who do not have any ties to the automotive industry. This may or may not be an advantage to the consumer depending on how knowledgeable he or she is. But the arbitrator is usually fair and might approach the case from the consumer's stand point. It is important to go through the information package that the BBB Autoline will mail you and follow the steps. If I'm not mistaken, you do have the option to skip mediation and go straight to arbitration. It'll be up to you to decide whether it's worth the time and effort to try and communicate with VW through the Autoline and come to a resolution. I recommend giving it a try. VW might decide that it's not worth their effort to go to arbitration and settle with you. Of course, patience is required as the process often takes a few weeks (for the consumer to file a complaint and for the manufacturer to respond). If you decide to go directly to arbitration or if the mediation falls through, the important thing is to present your case based on all the facts and details as best as you can. You have the option of hiring a lawyer to accompany you to arbitration, but that might cost some money. Remember that you have a very strong case and you should take a firm stance from the beginning (mediation) that you will do whatever it takes to have this matter resolved to your satisfaction or you are prepared to take it to the next level. Try not to get angry with VW simply because they won't care and it won't do your case any good. The decision of the arbitrator is legally binding to the manufacturer but not the consumer. This means that if the arbitrator rules in your favor, VW has to comply with the decision. But if you lose the case, you won't lose anything and you can still pursue further legal actions. So you basically have nothing to lose by going with BBB Autoline. Don't take VW's crap and suffer more by accepting their $1500 and shelling out more money to buy another potential lemon from them. Fight for yourself! I have confidence in your case. Good luck!
  • weatherdanweatherdan Posts: 28
    Well it was a great idea about the BBB Autoline. But according to the Golf owner's manual, the Autoline is available on a nationwide basis as long as the vehicle has been driven less than 24,000 miles (I'm okay there) *and* has not been in use for more than 2 years (I'm at 27 months!). Still it is a free call so I have nothing to lose upon inquiring I suppose. But I expect I will be barking up the wrong tree. Thanks again for the comments and suggestions. It is one of the best things a VW forum (actually any car forum) should do: provide good information when problems develop either with the car, the dealers or the company. It is a shame VW has not stepped up to the plate to either replace or repurchase the vehicle which has had obvious serious problems, despite the efforts by the dealer to fix one thing after the other.
  • adg44adg44 Posts: 385
    2000 Honda Accord EX V6 Coupe. I had crazy problems with that POS. Went through the program, got offered a $400 settlement. Then I sold the car and went to pick up the check, and they (Honda) said they wouldn't anymore because I didn't own the car. First Honda and last Honda. Good luck with VW, let's hope you get taken care of.

    - Anthony
  • howachowac Posts: 52
    Weatherdan,
    Don't give up! I still recommend that you give BBB Autoline a call. Tell them what happened and see whether they will be able to help you. Despite the fact that you've already had the car for more than 2 years and 24,000 miles, the problems began and repeated well before now. Curiously, VW's new car warranty is only 2/24000, while most other manufacturers offer at least 3/36000. Even though VW has a 10-year powertrain warranty, it's the little things that can drive you crazy and sometimes affect the safety of a car. If BBB Autoline cannot offer any useful help, you still have other warranty laws to protect you. I think www.carlaws.com mentions something about that. Take a look, maybe you'll find some helpful info. Again, good luck to you!

    In response to moparbad (great advice, by the way) and adg44, I know that Honda and Toyota (and other makes known for their reliability) also produce bad cars occasionally. Of course there is no guarantee that you'll always get a problem-free vehicle. But your chances will probably be better if you go with the more reputable brands. I didn't have anything against VW (and I still wonder how much we would have loved our Golf had it been more reliable), it's just that we were unfortunate to have encountered a lemon. Just like adg44, if I had bought a Honda (or even a Lexus, for that matter) and the car turned out to be a lemon, I'd tend to shy away from the brand in the future. It seems reasonable and natural after you experience the pain and hassle of dealing with a lemon. I hope people won't think that I'm deliberately putting VW down. I really hope that VW will get their act together and produce high-quality cars more consistently. Maybe I'll be persuaded to try another VW some time in the future.
  • moparbadmoparbad Posts: 3,842
    For the 2002 model year, all new Volkswagen vehicles will come standard with an increased four-year/50,000 mile (whichever occurs first) bumper-to-bumper warranty, up from two years/24,000 miles. The warranty covers wear-and-tear items and adjustments during the initial 12 months or 12,000 miles of ownership.

    In addition, Volkswagen will offer a fully transferable limited powertrain warranty that covers five years or 60,000 miles (previously 10 years/100,000 miles, but transferable only from the original retail owner to a family member).

    50,000 mile warranty is now better than Honda, GM, Nissan and Ford, etc..

    The new warranty will help with fear of out of warranty costs, still it won't help with aggravation if you have a lemon or dealer problems.
  • adg44adg44 Posts: 385
    But the dealers suck and if have modded your car like me, it really does no good.

    I am going in tomorrow for a clunk out of 1st and I'm positive that my third gear synchro is going bad.

    - Anthony
  • weatherdanweatherdan Posts: 28
    A couple weeks ago when my girlfriend was test driving a 2001 Beetle, I explicitly asked about the new 2002 warranrty. We were told by Alexandria VW in Virginia that the 2002s will come with a 3 yr warranty. Can't recall the mileage limit at the moment. Probably something like 40K or 50K. It is just this sort of dealer information inconsistency that drives a consumer away.
  • adg44adg44 Posts: 385
    That came straight from VW posted on VWvortex.
  • mpgmanmpgman Posts: 723
    I think the Golf has 8 air bags, not 6. There are 2 head curtain air bags for the front passengers and 2 for the rear, all mounted on the pillars. As to comparisons to the Echo, in all fairness, you should compare the cost of the TDI to the Echo to level out the mpgs. Gas Golfs are thirsty critters, and all but the base 2.0 drink the higher octane stuff. I am agonizing over Golf vs Echo for the second car I need. I just love the Elantra GT I bought for car #1, but I need something shorter to fit into a very tight garage spot in NYC. Golf, Echo, Rav-4, and Accent are among the only things that will fit. Golf is the best small package in my opinion but the simplicity and economy of the Echo, plus the Toyota build quality are hard to resist.
  • moparbadmoparbad Posts: 3,842
    There are no airbags for rear passengers in Golf. Not in the 2 door, not in 4 door. Where are you getting this information mpgman? There are two side airbags in seats, two front airbags and two side airbags in the pillars for a total of 6.
    In the comparison of Golf to Echo I personnally find no comparison to be made. I feel that the Echo is very basic transportation and a better comparison is the Corolla or Civic. The Prius offers excellent MPG, and the Civic HX offers excellent MPG with more refinement than the Echo.
    The choice of buying a VW is most often made on the driving experience, safety and comfort.
    Initial cost and total ownership cost will be higher for VW than equivalent Toyota or Honda.
  • moparbadmoparbad Posts: 3,842
    The front curtain airbags also protect the rear passengers, still there is a total of 6 airbags. My response in above post was misleading in saying there were no airbags for rear passengers as the front curtain airbags are for both the front and rear occupants.
  • mpgmanmpgman Posts: 723
    Could have sworn that the last time I was in a Golf (post Novemeber 00 production), there were 8 air bags. 2 front, 2 side, and 4 head curtain. There are 2 head curtain air bags in the front windshield "A" pillars, and 2 more in the "B" or "C"??? pillars that separate the front and rear windows. I am almost sure that the little oval tabs that say "airbag" were there. So if I am correct, that would make 8. BTW, I am not aware of any car manufacturer offering head curtain air bags that only protect the front seat occupants....Saturn, M-B, Volvo, etc.
  • moparbadmoparbad Posts: 3,842
    There are little oval tags, but the curtain airbags are one long bag on each side. So there are still 6 airbags in the Golf, which is two more than in most of it's competitors, and 4 more that are standard than in many of it's competitors.
  • mpgmanmpgman Posts: 723
    I stand corrected. Guess there are 4 oval head curtain air bags but only one continuous air bag per side. Also, the standard 4-wheel discs and ABS set VW apart too, especially from the "must take the hole in the roof" to get the safety (isn't that contradictory?)stuff crowd.
  • acalinacalin Posts: 1
    I have leased a VW Golf GTI 2001 ten months ago and ever since I
    have leased this car it has been in the shop for electrical repairs. At
    first the wiring for the speakers went wrong then a month later the
    check engine light came and the dealer said that the emission fuses went
    out. Anyway, that happened twice.
    The fourth time I had problems with it was the the driver's window which
    it didn't want to come up anymore and to mention that I have gotten all
    wet from the rain. A month later the same thing happened with the
    passenger's window. All these problems happened within 10 months from
    the purchase.
    I would like to mention that their customer service was also horrible.
    Also, it feels like I owe a Chevy Cavalier rather than Volkwagen turbocharged engine.

    Very disappointed with VW quality.

    Sincerely,
    Calin Popa
  • howachowac Posts: 52
    Acalin,
    Unfortunately, it sounds like you got a lemon too! But the good news is that you're not alone and you do have some very useful tools to help you with dealing with the car and the manufacturer. Contact the Better Business Bureau's Autoline and get familiar with the lemon laws in your state. Please see my previous postings on this topic if you need more info. Good luck and keep us updated!
  • mpgmanmpgman Posts: 723
    I swore off the VWs after I got clobbered with electrical problem bills on my Dasher, Rabbit and Scirocco back in the 70s and 80s. Now just when I am ready to put my foot in the water again here come the electrical problems. Why can't they get it right after all these years?
  • moparbadmoparbad Posts: 3,842
    Do you really think the problem cars that are discussed here are the norm for VW Golf? I do not. Did you know that VW Golf for 2001 is recommended by Consumer Reports? It is.
    Quite a few problems that people have seem to be symptoms of poor dealer service. This can be cured by finding a different dealer or knowledgable independent mechanic.
    Sure there are lemons out there, this is true for almost any make.
    For 2002 there is going to be a 4 door GL model and now the warranty is 4 years bumper to bumper instead of two. Unfortunately the 1.8T Golf is no longer available.
  • mpgmanmpgman Posts: 723
    CR now no longer recommends the Jetta, based on surveys of current owners who have reported major issues with reliability. Since the Golf and the Jetta are basically the same under the skin, it is possible that if there were enough Golf responses (fewer Golfs compared to Jettas), Golf would no longer be recommended either. My point was that these types of electrical problems were a hallmark of VWs many years ago and it is disturbing to read about them now, even if the sample size is small. My own independent, unscientific poll of several tow truck operators cites VWs as being high on their list of towed cars for electrical issues. As to the warranty, it is interesting that when it comes to Hyundai's longer warranty, the automatic response is so what...who wants to be at the dealer all day, but when VW lengthens the warranty to obviously address customer concerns, that is a good thing.
  • weatherdanweatherdan Posts: 28
    Yes, electrical problems. Do you know that Consumer Reports shows "many" electrical problems (full black circles) for 95 and 96 Golfs, a half-black circle for 99s and an empty circle ("average") for 00s? BTW, they show the same pattern for hardware. See p. 88 of the April 2000 issue. They even say on page 76 that "In our judgment, cars that are new should have very few problems. Even a (half red circle) may be cause for concern."

    Only a few of the recent issues discussed here seem to relate to dealer problems at all. Most concern problems with the cars themselves that require excessive trips to the dealer for repairs. It is one thing to have a dealer have to repair the same thing several times before they get it right and another altogether to have to take a (new) car to the dealer over and over again for different items. The former is a bad dealer, the later a bad car. Big difference.

    As for CU's recommendation, it gives recommendations when a car performs well in its tests and when their reader survey data indicate that reliability should be at least average. The Golf gets a "black" check, indicating average overall reliability. It is clear from the reliability charts that Golfs have a history of electrical and hardware problems. Actually all the VWs listed have the same problems to some extent.
  • hiwaysanityhiwaysanity Posts: 216
    the '95 and '96 Golfs have so little in common with the current version that they should not even be considered in the discussion. Start with the '99 and look forward.
  • cochoncochon Posts: 1
    Moparbad there are 8 air bags in 2001 golfs. If you don't believe me drive down to your local dealer and look.
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