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VW brand experience - good or bad?



  • alfoxalfox Posts: 716
    "Talking about dealers, most dealers are bastids. Ideally they would like to sell a car(junk or not) and not have to worry about customer service/repairs/parts etc.. So you start hating a product if the dealership sucks. Luckily for me the dealers I've dealt with have been pretty good. :)"

    It's an old post, but one wonders how he knows that "most dealers are bastids" if the dealers he's dealt with have been pretty good......
  • pernaperna Posts: 533
    Out of all my friends and family members, none has had as bad an experience with a car as I did with my '96 Jetta Trek. It was so bad, I have an involuntary shudder every time I drive by the VW dealer where I whiled away *days* worth of time.

    It's a good thing it came with a free Trek bike, because I did need it!
  • 600kgolfgt600kgolfgt Posts: 690
    Should've waited for the 97 Trek. I don't get the shudder, even at 135,000 miles. :shades:
  • rshollandrsholland Posts: 19,658
    but my '84 VW Quantum "Wolfsburg Edition" wagon was a pure nightmare. That experience, along with a simlar experience with a '96 Saab 9000, swore me off European cars forever.

  • carlisimocarlisimo Posts: 1,280
    Were Golfs so problematic in the European market too? They're as common there as Corollas are here... I don't get how.

    And now the new GTI will come out around the time I'm finally getting a new car, but I'll be too scared to buy one. I honestly know zero people who have had unproblematic modern VWs (my parents had a couple before I was old enough to really remember them). On the other hand I only know about half a dozen people who've had problematic VWs, but I haven't gone to sleep yet so I'm tired enough to not remember everything. Still, 0 for 6 scares me.

    Making their cars more expensive doesn't make me trust them more.

    (And more importantly, I think that pricing the Jetta with the likes of the Volvo S40 and other near-near-lux cars will yield VW the same tiny market share that those cars get. It's not a very popular niche, but it's not a new one either... and it sounds like they're counting on this "premium small car" segment blowing up.)
  • davem2001davem2001 Posts: 564
    VW is making a mistake going too far "upmarket" - $80-90K Phaeton, $50K Toureg, $30-40K Passat, etc...
  • 210delray210delray Posts: 4,722
    ...will ever be the hot ticket in the good old USA. For the same money, you can get a midsize or even large car with equal if not better fuel economy. Look at the Camry 4-cylinder: 24/34 EPA ratings, and the Malibu V6: 22/32. Even the 280-hp Avalon V6 gets 22/31, and it's pretty much a large car, certainly in the interior.
  • davem2001davem2001 Posts: 564
    Yeah, it's definitely a "niche" - probably 8 out of 10 people would take a Camry over a Jetta at the same price... I actually think a comparably equipped Camry costs LESS than a Jetta.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,669
    it's hard to make an exact comparison. A Camry with alloys and a moonroof would come in cheaper than the comparable Jetta, but it wouldn't have the auto climate control, and that would take a lot more money to get in the Camry. Similar thing with the Accord.

    I wouldn't want the size of those large cars anyway, but I do think the '05.5 Jetta is overpriced by a couple of thou. OTOH, there is a rumor that Nissan plans to do this (move it up to "premium compact" status) with the next Sentra, possibly arriving for the '07 model year. I would be more sold on the New Jetta if they had done better with the fuel economy.

    The only person I ever knew with a VW was my best friend, who had a '95 Jetta GL. Worst nightmare car she ever had. Traded it at about 70K miles, the auto trans was just giving up the ghost, and many of the electrical components inside had long since failed at that point (including the odometer, which read 36K, and I noticed when the dealer resold it they advertised it with "low miles! 36K" even though she had informed them of it. Crooks).

    She moved on to larger cars in 1997, with first a Camry and now an Accord after she got bored with the Camry. Not a single problem with either, and she is sold on Japanese for the time being.

    The single worst rated car by CR for reliability is the five year old Jetta and Golf V-6. OTOH, they now put the base Jetta and Golf 2.0 on the list of reliable used cars.

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

  • davem2001davem2001 Posts: 564
    I still say, it's definitely a "niche" - for every "enthusiast" who likes a Jetta for it's handling, "German car" feel, etc... there are probably 10 "regular Joes" who would rather buy a Camry or Accord, etc... that costs the same or less and is much bigger/roomier.
  • 600kgolfgt600kgolfgt Posts: 690
    Given what the Europeans (especially) the Germans have continously brought to the table in terms of automotive innovation throughout history, mistakes are bound to be made when you've pioneered the lions share of automotive technology - since the 1800's - for example:

    All the Japanese had to do was let the Germans do the pioneering and make the mistakes, then simply emulate the technology (having the benefit of learning from the errors the Germans made). If the two countries switched positions, Germany would probably have the most reliable vehicles on the market, too.
  • bpeeblesbpeebles Posts: 4,080
    I fully agree with you.... it is FARRR more expensive to break new ground and develop a product than it is to just build what somone else has figured out.

    This can be seen with computers too. IBM produced the first real "PC" -- everyone else just copied it. Even Microsoft purchased their "Internet Explorer" browser technology. (they did not invent "IE")...In fact, most of what Microsoft sells was purchased from other companies. (Spreadsheet, word-processor, disk-defragmenter...etc) Even the idea of Icons and a mouse was stolen from Apple!

    Another fact you did not touch on is that Asian cars are DESIGNED to be pretty much ignored. German vehicles NEED to be treated with respect and maintained per reccomendations. In return, you get a more civilized vehicle with far better handling and creature-comforts.

    I wonder how many people realize that the german company BOSCH actually INVENTED the sparkplug. To this very day, BOSCH sparkplugs are superiour to the others in many ways. From the copper core and platinum tips to the nickle finish, everyone else is just copying what BOSH has done for 30 years. BOSCH sparkplugs even use a special ceramic and has extra ribs on it to reduce hi-voltage leakage.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,669
    Of course, look at where IBM is in the PC industry today....oops, that's right, they're not in PCs any more! :-P

    Innovation is great, but cars are still fundamentally transportation first. I would say leave it to luxury brands to innovate. Non-luxury brands need to focus on making reliable cars that are cheap to operate and not too expensive to buy in the first place. Once they get THAT part down pat, then they can afford to experiment a bit...

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

  • davem2001davem2001 Posts: 564
    IMO - all this "Germans innovate and the Japanese just copy"...might have been true 30, 40 years ago, but not so much today
  • rshollandrsholland Posts: 19,658
    Ditto that. The Japanese are as much innovators as the Germans these days. The difference being the Japanese care much more about keeping their customers happy via building reliable cars.

  • zillzzillz Posts: 21
    You know zero people who have had unproblematic VW's? Well, I guess I don't count, because you don't know me. I have a 1996 Golf GL, 121,000 miles. I have had a few repairs , but only on items that wear out eventually on ANY car. I still have original front brakes,alternator, and clutch. Unlike the obvious perception, I think VW's are EXCELLENT cars. The only thing that I will admit to is this: When something does need repair or replacement on a VW, it is very expensive, especially for someone like me, who has no mechanical skills. I am in the 2 out of 10 people who would get a Jetta over a Camry anyday. I'm not knocking Toyota. Obviously they make an excellent product, but they're so..........bland!!!!!!!!!!
  • zillzzillz Posts: 21
    The Golf is the second-best-selling car in the world.They just don't sell many in the US. American buyers like trunks. As far as not knowing anyone who has had a VW without problems, maybe I don't count because we don't know each other. My 1996 Golf is an EXCELLENT car. I have 121,000 miles and expect to get 100,000 more.It is unfortunate that most "Average Joes" rely on publications such as Consumer Reports to sway their car-buying decisions. Mathematically, CR's ratings are meaningless, and even the "worst" cars of today make cars 10 years ago look like Yugos. I am in the "niche" of happy VW owners. I just hope that VWOA's sales don't erode to the point of leaving us behind..........
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,669
    "even the "worst" cars of today make cars 10 years ago look like Yugos"

    but it just isn't true in my case. My late 80s and early 90s Hondas and Toyotas were just as reliable as they are today. And never needed replacement window switches or any other warranty work.

    I am not saying all VWs suck, just that CR doesn't either. Rather it should be one of many data points you use. The VW coil pack problem was one thing, but power windows have been in cars for ages - nothing innovative there - and it was just plain old cost-cutting cheapness that gave VW problems there. If the surface is glossy (best interiors in the industry) but the substance underneath is riddled with holes, is the consumer getting the best value for their dollar?

    I had a very interesting discussion with a co-worker last week, about her '99 Golf. She loves that car. She has had any many problems with it, both during warranty and at her own expense (windows, lights, wheel bearings, oil consumption, several occasions when it would not start and had to be towed, including two while it was still under warranty). Because she had a very responsive and competent dealer, the repairs have not bothered her and she is thinking of replacing it with an Audi. She has over 100K miles now. Her husband has a Toyota truck, and she chuckled and said that if he had had one tenth the problems she has had with her Golf, his truck would have been gone ages ago, because he has a lot less patience for those kinds of things than she does. Instead, his truck is pushing 200K miles with a minimum of fuss. Talk about an allegory for the market at large!

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

  • rshollandrsholland Posts: 19,658
    Mathematically, CR's ratings are meaningless,

    Huh? CR reliability reports are based on reports what owners have found to be the case with their cars, be it good or bad. How is that meaningless? Sounds to me like your shooting the messenger, and ignoring the message.

  • kurtamaxxguykurtamaxxguy Posts: 677
    Edmunds posted an article today commenting - just an excerpt here - how VW dealers are fuming because VW America, focusing on profitability, is not supplying them cars they can sell or that customers want. VW, like nearly all Euro companies, blames the weak dollar for their troubles.

    Can VW USA stay the course long enough to build the "premium" small car they think we USAers might want, given that Toyota and Honda are already building them at higher quality levels and at a lower cost?

    Or do they truly believe the thrill of Euro performance overweighs poor quality and frequent repairs? Two other Euro companies went bust from this approach.

    I should add my first car was a VW Super beetle and still have a soft spot for the brand, if it finally decides the USA market is worth its time and delivers to it a quality car again. Hopefully VW can climb out of the hole it has dug itself into.
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