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VW brand experience - good or bad?

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  • anonymouspostsanonymousposts Posts: 4,202
    "He is preaching doom and gloom to justify cutting 20,000 jobs."

    But they are cutting 20,000 jobs ... much like GM. Honda, Toyota, and even Hyundai are adding jobs and production. Something still doesn't smell rosy in VW land.
  • nvbankernvbanker Posts: 7,285
    Every VW Jetta, Passat or Touareg I have bought for people have been junk. Several of them have come back to me and I've been stuck with them. Oh, they drive nicely and have that german feel and all, but the windows don't work, the Air Conditioning is a joke, and it's noisy to boot, and the problems with them are endless. It's gotten to the point where I just refuse generally, to buy them for people in most cases. Unless the customer understands from the beginning that I am not standing behind the car, I did not build the car, and I am not going to be responsible for all the issues they may have encountered with the car, I won't by them and tell the customer to go elsewhere to get one. That's my experience with them, and it mystifies me that people still want them.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,687
    Well, not enough people want them to please VW. It looks like we won't get the next-gen Golf next year, because Rabbit sales have been so slow.

    The only people I have ever known with VWs have sworn them off after one, never to return. There is one exception though: a coworker that had a late 90s Golf for almost ten years, finally traded it in on a new A3 about 18 months ago, which she likes a lot. She called the Golf reliable, but when we got into the details of it there were enough repairs that I would have tired of it quickly and walked away from VWs permanently. She just likes that "German feel" and is willing to put up with lots of repair hassles to have it.

    She has managed to have three bad accidents in the A3, only one of which was her fault, but apart from that there have been no repairs so far.

    2013 Civic SI, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (stick)

  • nvbankernvbanker Posts: 7,285
    She just likes that "German feel" and is willing to put up with lots of repair hassles to have it.

    And that, I think, is really the only reason people buy VWs at all. They do drive well and feel good, if you can stand the failures and repairs. Some people aren't bothered by that. But most, as you said, in my experience don't go back for a second VW.
  • jeffyscottjeffyscott Posts: 3,855
    the Air Conditioning is a joke

    The A/C in my son's 1996 Jetta is fantastic...still ice cold. It is better than the A/C in my new Mazda. My wife's A/C in her 1995 new Jetta is also seems better than mine.

    While several models have had reliability problems, according to CR the new Jetta and Rabbit, with the 2.5 engine, have had average or better reliability so far.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,687
    Both of those Jettas in your family are older cars now: did they need repairs in the first 100K miles? Of those (if any), was there anything that actually stopped the car from running or presented a health or safety issue?

    My friend's '95 just about drove her nuts - she was always repairing something. Windows were a problem. I was always remarking that some new little thing, usually a button, had fallen off. The moonroof stopped working. Lots of little things cropped up, including the odometer quitting, which happened six months before the auto trans quit, causing her to dump it with about 75K miles, at the tender age of 3-1/2 years.

    The A/C ran like a dream up until the day she abandoned it for a Camry (talk about a change of pace in cars!). That Jetta had better A/C than just about any car I have ever owned.

    She DID like the car. Had it continued to run, even with all the little things that no longer worked, I do believe she would have kept it. But of course the trans required some huge repair, estimate in the $1000s, and the car was grounded without the repair, so she said adios. She has never had a VW since and warns people away from VW who are thinking of buying one.

    2013 Civic SI, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (stick)

  • jeffyscottjeffyscott Posts: 3,855
    Wow, my wife's new car is now older :surprise: :)

    We don't drive a lot so she only has about 25K mi on it. The significant repairs (covered under warranty) were replacement of strut bearings with a redesigned part and replacement of transmission throttle body. There were a handful of very minor items when it was new. It also needs the trunk struts replaced as they are supposed to lift the trunk lid and no longer do, that'll be done under warranty at next oil change. Nothing stopped the car from running or was a safety issue all issues were or could have been taken care of at the same time as normal maintenance was being performed and VW provides a free loaner during warranty period.

    My son bought his 1996 used about a year ago and it has needed an amazing amount of repairs. We knew about $600 of these when it was purchased, but he put another $1000+ into it after that and it would have been even more if he had not done the oil pump and ignition coil himself. Several times when it was not broken he has thought about selling it, even had it on craigslist once, but has not. He has certainly learned a lot about cars from owning it and researching his problems. He does like the comfortable seat, handling, and "solidity" of it. He now is modifying it, his next project is to install a super-charger...which is a crazy idea to me. I made no reliabilty claims regarding that one, which is only right around 100,000 miles, just pointed out that the A/C is great in contrast to the comment that was made about VW A/C being a joke.
  • fintailfintail Posts: 33,683
    A roomate of mine in college had a 95 Jetta, at the time only a few years old. It was very glitchy, it had the window problems too,along with a factory stereo that only worked half the time, the typical VW failing exterior lights, and I remember it had an appetite for wheel bearings. No less than once every other week I remember having to take him to the dealer to pick up his car.
  • nvbankernvbanker Posts: 7,285
    The "joke" about the A/C is not the temperature of it - it is the noise the fan and air makes coming through the vents, while not a lot of air, albeit it cold, is actuallly coming through the vents. Very noisy compared to any other car I have, and insufficient volume of air in the Touareg.....whatever that means...
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,687
    Yup, the light problems sound familiar, my friend had plenty of those and would sometimes just let them go until she was warned by the police, unless it was the actual headlights. She rode around for about six months with no working rear lights except brake lights, The police finally caught her. That one was expensive, I remember that. The third brake light quit in year two and never worked again - she DIDN'T fix that one. And like so many others, hers was one of "those" VWs where warning lights on the dash were just on permanently, they became part of a familiar landscape and after a while nobody paid them any mind any longer. It's a good thing cars don't have to pass smog until year five in California, because one of the lights that was permanently on was the CEL, and I bet that would have been expensive to fix too.

    She had no wheel bearing problems, but did have to replace one of the front axles IIRC, and I know she was absolutely PLAGUED with problems with the remote entry....and it wasn't a case of needing a new remote battery either. She had no-starts on several occasions because of electrical this and that but I tell you, she would have stood by that car even with ALL THAT, if that transmission hadn't quit. Some people just like that VW "feel". When the tranny gave out though, she was left in the hole as she hadn't paid the loan off and the car was worth way less than what she had left to pay. That left her kind of sore, which is why she actively campaigns against VW when the topic arises.

    jeffyscott: well, cars bought at 100K miles don't count in my book, as neglect and abuse can have wrought a grim picture by that age, and have necessitated all sorts of repairs regardless of make. But your wife's '95 only has 25K miles?? Did you mean it was a 2005? And I'm afraid I don't know what a transmission throttle body is - do you mean the throttle body in the fuel injection system? That's kind of an esoteric part to go with only 25K on the clock.

    2013 Civic SI, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (stick)

  • fintailfintail Posts: 33,683
    A coworker of mine had an 04 Jetta...it would lose a taillight like clockwork about every 6 weeks or so. It also ate a couple headlights in the 40K miles he had it. That's just not right.
  • fezofezo Posts: 9,345
    I'm one of those that bought a Volkswagen once and won't touch them anymore. It was all the way back in 1979 (an 80 Rabbit) but it was a nightmare of electrical glitches which seems to be a common theme in here.

    Back in 99 I came very close to buying a Passat. If I had even the slightest faith in reliability I'd have bought it but in the end I ended up in what I considered a lesser but far more dependable car. The years have proved me right. Sigh...
  • bpeeblesbpeebles Posts: 4,085
    If a few burned-out lightBulbs is considerd "unreliable" then your standards may be a little high.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,687
    Well the bulbs in the newer VWs do seem to burn out much too quickly (as do those in the newer Volvos), but that wasn't my friend's problem. She had problems with switches and wiring that caused lights not to work. If it had been just burned out bulbs, she would have fixed each one much more quickly!

    2013 Civic SI, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (stick)

  • fintailfintail Posts: 33,683
    I never said unreliable...the car never stranded him. But he did have to make some unscheduled dealer visits and was driven crazy by the lights. I do recall the car had a seat track break and something went wrong with the steering column that put it in the shop for a week....and the VW service was everything one would expect, that being VW service is German revenge for WW2...

    Funny thing is he had a Beetle turbo before the Jetta...it had headlights that failed all the time, and according to him they are a major PITA to replace. On that car the turbo died and it had alarm faults all the time...but he had to get another VW. His current car isn't a VW.
  • jeffyscottjeffyscott Posts: 3,855
    I'm afraid I don't know what a transmission throttle body

    Oops, meant "valve body" there. It was actually replaced at 10K mi. What we had noticed was the shifting was getting rough, especially 1-2. It seemed minor enough to us that we waited until it went in for an oil change for this. Despite all the horror stories about VW dealers, ours diagnosed this issue right away and did not want us to drive the car until the part came in. They even gave us a Mazda6 to drive, when I told the guy I thought we'd rather take our chances with the Jetta than have his Malibu (classic, I think) for the week. It is kind of funny that the biggest issue we have had was with the Japanese built Aisan transmission.

    Yes, it is a 2005...or 2005.5, in 2005 they sold both the old and the new Jetta. The "new Jetta" came out in about March/April as a 2005, it was a very short run for that model year, by August they were selling 2006s, IIRC. My wife got hers right off the truck on about the last day of May 2005. So we kind of expected a few glitches...
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 28,967
    I'm one of those that bought a Volkswagen once and won't touch them anymore. It was all the way back in 1979 (an 80 Rabbit) but it was a nightmare of electrical glitches which seems to be a common theme in here.

    You should be able to sympathize with me buying a POC 1978 Honda Accord. It was trouble from the minute I drove it out of the dealers lot. Funny thing is I wanted a VW Dasher diesel and the wait was at least a year. The Accord's were on the lot and ready to go. So I have had it in for Honda all these years, same as you and VW. I have owned a modern 05 VW Passat Wagon TDI that was a great little car the 13 months I owned it.
  • BilKopBilKop Posts: 12
    Hi all
    I'm about to buy my first car, and based on user and Edmund's reviews, I had settled on a 2009 VW Jetta. After reading these posts, I'm not so sure... Everywhere else, people make it sound like it's the most fantastic thing ever, you get a ton of car for the money, it's super safe etc.

    Before I settled on the Jetta (haven't bought it yet though), I was thinking about a new Honda Civic, but we already have one of those and there are many little things that annoy me about it - tiny trunk where absolutely nothing fits, uncomfortable and loud ride, and we have things breaking all the time. The last thing to go was the A/C, which we decided not to replace, because it's just too expensive.

    Does anyone have any advice for me? Help! :confuse:
  • steverstever YooperlandPosts: 40,431
    The dealer makes a lot of difference. My sister's old '00 New Beetle had a bunch of electrical issues and the dealer was awful. About 4 years in, VW must have hammered them and the service improved markedly (as did my sister's attitude towards her VW). She didn't buy another one though.

    Ask around locally and check out the ratings sites like Dealer Ratings and Reviews.

    Moderator
    Need help navigating? stever@edmunds.com - or send a private message by clicking on my name.

  • fezofezo Posts: 9,345
    The dealer really does make all the difference. Jettas overall have an average reliability record.

    The biggest problem with VWs is that if they do need repair they aren't cheap. My guess would be that you'd know what you got into by the time the warranty ran out and could decide accordingly. They do have nice resale value if you changed your mind.

    VWs are wonderful little things to drive and have the best interiors for the money. There's no denying they are attractive.

    gagrice and I had te same problems on opposite cars which I always find rather amusing.

    I ahve a friend who had a flawless Windstar that was exactly the same vehicle that I had an awful experience with, so things do happen.
  • jeffyscottjeffyscott Posts: 3,855
    I'm about to buy my first car, and based on user and Edmund's reviews...After reading these posts... Does anyone have any advice for me?

    Yes, don't let either of those things influence your decision too much. :)

    My wife bought this version of the Jetta in it's first (1/2) year, 1995. We have been happy with it. We do not drive a lot, so we have only about 28,000 miles on it.

    It did have a number of, mostly minor issues, the first year...but that was kind of expected with it being a new model.
  • nvbankernvbanker Posts: 7,285
    VWs are fun to drive, but they do need maintenance, and if the dealer is uncooperative, it's gonna be hell. There is considerable down time with a VW. You have to be ok with that.
  • steverstever YooperlandPosts: 40,431
    VW does keep attracting my attention. For example:

    VW Golf Plus

    image

    Moderator
    Need help navigating? stever@edmunds.com - or send a private message by clicking on my name.

  • boaz47boaz47 Posts: 2,750
    You may have made a very valid point. I have had three bad experiences with VW over three decades. I guess I am a slow learner. I liked the cars, all of them and liked the way the drove. But parts and service were horrid. I suppose if they could have been fixed or if I could have replaced parts as easily as a domestic or Asian import I might have over looked some of the problems. But that wasn't the case.

    After the first VW, a Bug, was ok but repairs were had to get done correctly. It took me close to eight years to get my second VW. The reason I took the second leap was because of the loyalty of other VW owners. They swore to God VW had improved and I decided I just had to have a Karmin Ghia. What a joy to drive but sooner or later I had to have some minor things serviced and once again it was a pain in the behind. I found a good independent mechanic and that allowed me to keep the Ghia a bit longer but sooner or later it was time to get a new car. My mistake was getting a Mazda Pickup between my second and third VW. The Mazda ran like clockwork and service was straight forward and done on time and correctly. Are I'll be darned if they didn't carry parts in the parts department. The loyal VW people I knew once again convinced me VW had improved and changed so I got a Rabbit. VW hadn't changed with parts and service and this was in three different counties. And the Rabbit took more servicing than any car I have ever had.

    All that being said I looked long and hard at VW before I bought each of my last two new cars. Each time it came down to two or three cars and the VW was most often in the top three. However as I slept on the thought of getting a new VW and how much I liked the looks and handling. But the nightmare of VW parts and service kept coming back to me. Before I got my PT or my Focus I happened to read a comment by the head of VWOA that he realized VW had a image and service problem and I decided to pass on VW. I keep looking at JD Powers to see if VW gets rated higher in dependability, so I won't have to take it to service, but alas they are still rated at close to the bottom of the dependability list. So my "experience" with VW is what keeps me from getting another VW. If however they ever get in the top half of JD powers I might take a second look at a VW. I would love to get a small diesel. I simply don't trust VW.
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 28,967
    Much better looking than the Fit, Yaris or Versa... With a TDI it might get me in a small car...
  • jeffyscottjeffyscott Posts: 3,855
    I keep looking at JD Powers to see if VW gets rated higher in dependability, so I won't have to take it to service, but alas they are still rated at close to the bottom of the dependability list. So my "experience" with VW is what keeps me from getting another VW. If however they ever get in the top half of JD powers I might take a second look at a VW. I would love to get a small diesel.

    I don't know about JD Powers, but CR has rated the new Jetta and Rabbit as average or better.

    It seems to me diesel has become a losing proposition, gas here is about $1.80, diesel is about $2.80. I think diesels get about 50% better mpg, but the fuel cost is now 55% higher.
  • boaz47boaz47 Posts: 2,750
    CR only surveys CR members. I haven't had a lot of positive experiences with CR suggestions on things like Cameras, Washing machines and TVs. JD Powers takes surveys from cars sales and their respondents are more diversified. CR is a bit like a giant club and they have too much in common. It is a bit like a college where all the students start wearing sevens or true religion and then you take a survey on the best jeans, Quicksilver and Levis aren't going to do as well as what they are already wearing. But that is simply my take on why I have had less than stellar experience with reccommended products from CR.

    But I never had a big problem with my VW engines, well the Rabbit had some strange problem with some idle meter but that happens. It was electrical problems and small part breaking that had to be replaced. Not something that could be repaired but things that had to be replaced. So I have been consulting JD powers for the last few years before I open my wallet for several things. Their survey covers three years of service and owners are responsible for the reporting of their problems. KIA, Suzuki and VW have lost my business more than once because they can't get off the bottom of the JD Powers list. It isn't the only tool I use but if two or three cars are in the running and the price is about the same the VW would have to be a "lot" nicer for me to take the risk of dealing with VW service.
  • jeffyscottjeffyscott Posts: 3,855
    I took a look at JD Powers dependability rating of the Jetta. It is useless, as they have apparently combined two completely different cars into one rating. The new Jetta and old Jetta are combined, based on the photos they show here: http://www.jdpower.com/autos/Volkswagen/Jetta/2005/Sedan/

    The specs listed seem to be for the old design, as it indicates 115 HP.

    (As an aside, I have this theory that VW putting out the new Jetta as a 2005 and causing this sort of confusion was intentional. In this way, they could work out the initial bugs during the short 2005 run and hope to look great as of 2006. The former model was a disaster on reliability ratings so throwing the initial run of the new model in with it, could really not make it look any worse than it already did.)

    MSN shows good reliability for the new model, with the 2.5 engine: http://autos.msn.com/research/vip/reliability.aspx?year=2005&make=Volkswagen&mod- - el=Jetta

    One more piece of data, I recently checked with my credit union on putting an extended warranty on our 2005. I was told the cost would be about $1500 for zero deductible, equivalent to the factory bumper to bumper warranty, if 80,000 miles was needed, or about $2000 for 100,000. In either case, the warranty runs 5 years from the date of purchase and must be purchased before 36K mi. We do not drive a lot of miles, so we will be approaching 36K mi at the end of the 4 year VW warranty. I could add 5 years to that for $1500. Therefore, my total expected repair costs are likely less than $1500 in the first 9 years and, if I choose to, I could buy coverage to limit the cost to that amount. Alternatively, one who drives a little more would be looking at less than $2000 in expected repair costs (I say less because there is certainly some profit built into the $2000 price) during the 1st 100K mi.

    Back before we bought one in 2005, of my reliability indicators was the price of an extended warranty from my credit union, which I would presume to be working with a reputable warranty company. The difference between an Accord (which I priced as a barometer of reliability) and a Jetta was about $500 for 100,000 mile coverage. Note that this was before the new, more reliable, Jetta had any reliability track record.
  • boaz47boaz47 Posts: 2,750
    excellent plan on how to buy a extended warrentee. Still even if the repairs are covered the down time can be problematic. Like I said I like the looks of some of the VWs even if I find the Jetta to be a bit small. I just have heard so many VW stories over the years and my own experience with VW service has left a scar. It take many years to build a reputation but it only takes a few years to destroy one. VW has a bad reputation for dependability over the long run and it will take a lot of Good VW experiences to change that perception.

    The question I believe was directed at what kind of experience we have had with VW and just in my case it was not a good one. I can still say the Ghia was a great handling little car but the dependability issue would make even that car a weekend driveway queen if I still had one. I do have a very good friend that has a clean two tone Ghia convertible, but it spends most of its time inside and under a cover unless the sun is bright and there is nothing going on that he might "need" to drive to as opposed to like to drive to. I just don't trust VW as a daily driver.
  • flossitflossit Posts: 25
    hi,

    what type of vw and year do your friend have?
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