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VW brand experience - good or bad?



  • 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.
  • Stever@EdmundsStever@Edmunds YooperlandPosts: 38,958
    VW does keep attracting my attention. For example:

    VW Golf Plus

  • boaz47boaz47 Posts: 2,730
    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: 28,678
    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: 2,730
    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:

    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: - 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: 2,730
    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

    what type of vw and year do your friend have?
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,669
    Same as in the post I was responding to: a '95 Jetta. Red. 4-cylinder engine. Had a stereo that was great by the standards of the day for cars in its class. One of the few things that kept working until the end.

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

  • mcribbmcribb Posts: 20
    It is expensive. My ex-wife has a new jetta. She must take it in for all posted maintance to keep the warranty. Everytime she goes it is 400 or more dollars. I would pass on a VW.
  • jeffyscottjeffyscott Posts: 3,855
    I don't know what they are supposedly doing to have it be over $400 every time. We have had our for over 4 years and have spent a total of $633 on all maintenance in that time.

    Anyway, if you buy now they have free maintenance included for the first 3 years or 36K mi.
  • bpeeblesbpeebles Posts: 4,080
    Have you read the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act which comes with every new car?

    It essentually says that you do not have to take to dealership for routine maintenance to keep the warantee intact. Anyone who pays $400 every time DESERVES to pay that much by not taking the time to understand their Federal rights under the law.

    READ all the 'paperwork' which comes with your car... be 'in the know' so you do not have to pay thru the nose.

    At the very least... dont use ignorance of the law as an excuse to NOT purchase a particular brand of automobile.

    HOWEVER: I would agree that some dealerships are CROOKS... that can happen with any brand of car.... not just VW.
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 28,678
    Your dealer is ripping you off. My Oil changes on the Passat TDI are less than Toyota charges for my 07 Sequoia. VW uses synthetic Toyota dino oil. Toyota wanted $75 more for synthetic.
  • nvbankernvbanker Posts: 7,285
    It's interesting....VWs have a cult following, mostly with young girls, but other too. Most people I know have had one, but rarely more than one. Some only buy one because it has a diesel option, rare in America. I get requests for them fairly often. If they are out of warranty, I will not buy one for a customer because the dissatisfaction rate is so high, and I've had to take too many back. Personally, I do not get the big whoop about them. They are not attractive inside to me, they offer nothing over an Asian car, they are very high maintenance, and the older they get, the more expensive they are to keep. Hence, I think, the popularity with the young gals, who are rarely savvy about cars, and the Jetta, in particular, is just a cool chick car to have. There are exceptions to what I say, of course, but in general, this is my experience with the brand.
  • fintailfintail Posts: 32,910
    I have to wonder how VW got the "chick" market, is it residual sentiment from the old "(something) basket" Cabrios? There's nothing especially girly about a Golf or Jetta on paper, but they do attract a demographic aside from diesel-heads.
  • nvbankernvbanker Posts: 7,285
    Exactly. "First cars for rich high school co-eds" are often Jettas. It probably breeds from parking lots full of them. Their second car, undoubtedly, will be a 3 series.
  • fintailfintail Posts: 32,910
    A leased base model 328i auto if they are on their own, a 335 or M3 Cabrio if they found a fool to marry. Then when they have some income insurance/devilspawn spoiled children, X5 here we come.
  • nvbankernvbanker Posts: 7,285
    Lol! So true!
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