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VW brand experience - good or bad?

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  • PF_FlyerPF_Flyer Pennsylvania Furnace, PAPosts: 5,871
    ...it's still a bit away from the topic here. We Do have a bit of leeway here in News & Views, but let's try to get back to the automotive. Thanks for the little "vacation' though!!

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  • I very much apologise for getting carried away. You truly have an excellent website.

      I always like to favour the VW group cars, as I have personally had fantastic service. I'm lucky!!

      Even though the new Golf Series 5 has a lovely looking dashboard, they have apparently slightly cut back on quality of plastics. They have enormously improved the roadholding though. All makes have to keep to a certain budget level though. I feel that VW are on the up again. I wouldn't hesitate to buy one again.
  • A lot of the people in the UK think that the VW Touran looks dull. The front is really a stretched Polo. To be honest I think it looks perfectly well and it is very much a vehicle that is purpose built. Taking nothing away from them,I know the French make very good MPVs with eye catching flair.I say give the Touran a chance.I was so taken with the 2.0 litre diesel on a test drive.It is well finished and with the 3rd row of seats folding in to the floor similar to the Vauxhall ( Opel ) Zaffira, it all makes very good sense. The rear suspension is taken from the newest Golf series 5 , so the roadholding is excellent for a vehicle like this.I am sorry I don't have a picture of one. It's driving position is lovely. All the instruments seemed in the right place. It has a sensible non-cluttered layout which I like about VW.Near Exeter UK, I was able to drive it up a main hilly very bendy dual carriageway. It shot past 70 mph very quickly. Help, the speed cameras!! I thoroughly recommend this compact MPV in it's 2.0 litre diesel form!!
  • jayj4jayj4 Posts: 1
    HELP. Golf 2003. The rear speakers are far less audible in my monsoon system than the front. Particularly, the little ones near the window have next to nothing coming out of them. The front ones work loud and strong.

    My dealer keeps telling me that the radio "works to design" depsite the obvious flaw.

    Is this a simple fuse problem? HELP
  • andys120andys120 Loudon NHPosts: 16,621
    It's great to have some input regarding European VW and VW related products. I get the distinct impression from reading CAR and other UK publications that Volkswagen cars are highly regarded in Britain and Ireland, commanding good prices when new or used. Is this correct?

    I'd appreciate your input on this and on the relationship of the sister brands to Volkswagen as well. Do you think the relatively strong position of VW there has to do with the fact that most of the products are Euro sourced whereas here it is the opposite.

    I'm also curious whether you think the Asian brands are making a big impact over there.

    2000 BMW 528i, 2001 BMW 330CiC

  • Japanese cars are respected here in the UK. I notice that Honda commands a lot of respect.
     There are an amazing amount of BMWs both here and in Ireland. Quite a lot of Mercedes and Audi too. Time will tell, how popular Chris Bangles new BMW designed cars will be. Apparently sales fell away with the new 7-series.
     You will always get a certain loyalty of people buying VWs. They tend to cost a bit more than their competitors, but some VWs keep good resale values.
     In Ireland people have to pay more for cars because of heavy local taxes. Sometimes they don't have all the top models with as many added extras as one might find in the UK.
     I notice quite a few successful people in Ireland still buy Mercedes and BMWs. You can't enjoy them with the heavy traffic conjestion around Dublin.They have suddenly become so strict about speeding. Penalty points!! They say it has now saved a lot of lives though.
      As people have to spend such a high premium buying new cars in Ireland, successful people are inclined to buy what will retain more secondhand value.
       I notice an enormous amount of successful new Fords in both countries and plenty of French cars. There are an enormous amount of French cars in the UK.
      Fords are incredibly popular ( Focus and Mondeo ). There are a lot of Vauxhall ( Opel ). I think Ford is the best seller in the UK.
       Ask some Dublin taxi drivers and they think the world of Honda, Toyota and Nissan. I have had Mercedes taxis in Dublin too.
  • I notice that Hyundai has grown in Ireland.
     One sees more Skodas than Seats. Lots of new Fabias and plenty of Octavias. The Superb has been growing with popularity in Ireland. One does though see new Seat Ibizas and Alhambras. One sees more Cordobas in Ireland.
      My Seat Toledo is a fantastic car; but I don't understand why the public in both countries don't buy more. They look lovely. Origionally my Seat Toledo was dearer and more plush than the Octavia. I bought my Toledo at the end of 1999.
  • andys120andys120 Loudon NHPosts: 16,621
    what's the general impression of VW vs. Peugeot and Renault over there?

    Is there a lot of cross shopping among the VAG brands, VW, Skoda, Seat and the low end Audis?

    2000 BMW 528i, 2001 BMW 330CiC

  • enetheneth Posts: 285
    At least in the US, VW has an aura of quality its products don't live up to (a problem shared by a lot of European - and surprisingly, Korean - automobiles as well):

    http://www.detnews.com/2004/autosinsider/0401/19/autos-36758.htm
  • I forgot to mention that there are a growing number of new Ford Fiestas to compliment the large number of Focus and Mondeo models. The new Focus C-Max compct MPV has started to appear. So Ford do well in the UK and Ireland.
     A lot of people buy Renault and Peugeot, as in many cases they are full of styling flair. To be fair, they have brought out some excellent cars.
     People still buy VW, as they very often hold onto residuals well and to be fair I feel they still have quality. I like VWs and their brands; but very often the French cars look more exciting. I don't want to be sexist; but I hear that women drivers are forcing designers to make their cars more exciting look. Renault are a big example!! Some small Peugeots retain a lot of value.
      I like the look of some VWs though. You always get loyal cliantele. I like to buy VW and Seat.My Seat Toledo TDiSE is a fantastic car.It was built in a Belgium VW factory at the end of 1999. It has a lovely Golf GTI leather steering wheel, and a former model Audi A3 dashboard and lovely sports seats. VW brands do share engines and components. Ferdinand Piech who used to be in charge and did a very good job,had many models almost the same eg. VW Bora ( Jetta), Seat Toledo and the Skoda Octavia. Lots of the VW group share the same platforms.
      The new boss of VW who used to be in charge of BMW and then Seat for a year, he is trying to make a bigger identity between the brands.I don't want to attempt to mention all the classy sports cars and Bentleys now under VW. Seat are to become the cheaper sports segment with the vastly dearer Audi. Also those amazing very expensive sports cars. VW go together with the much cheaper Skodas and the excellent Bentleys etc.
  • lewshellewshel Posts: 37
    We have been considering buying a new car sooner rather than later. On Saturday we tested Audi A4 1.8 and 3.0 tiptronics. My wife likes the Audi more than the Passat V6 GLX 4 motion but I think the VW is a much better value. On line we have been offered an 03 Passat W-8 for around 33K. I wonder about mileage.
    I am nervous about the amount of coil failure possible in such a complex 8 cylinder engine (I have a TDI).
    Anyone with any experience with a W8 or is there anyone who has gone though the same comparison tests? Thanks.
  • corvettecorvette United StatesPosts: 4,115
    The W8 is really crammed in there under the hood of the Passat. Of course, the engine is warranted for 60,000 miles, so that should provide some comfort. That said, your chances of facing an expensive repair bill is about the same with any of the VW/Audi products.
  • andys120andys120 Loudon NHPosts: 16,621
    I'd say all bets are off after 60K with that sucker. I read they have to pull the motor to change plugs! (gasp!).

    I also gather that the W8 isn't particularly fast
    which kind of nullifies the point of 8 cyls.

    Have a look at the A4 3.0, a very sweet car, possibly less costly than the W8 Passat.

    2000 BMW 528i, 2001 BMW 330CiC

  • ebart1ebart1 Posts: 12
    for 12 years and 236,000km----with the best seats and multiple adjustments, best steering and tracking, best brakes, best body, best trunk, and best ride (considering the relatively short wheelbase)---of all the 10 vehicles owned. Even the old 3-speed automatic was totally 'bullet-proof' as was the cooling-system! Weakness involved the rear-shocks, electrics, steering-rack (replaced under warranty), transmission-mounts, windshield-wipers, and door-locks that trapped water (and froze-up in winter). And YES---the 1.8 gas engine always used oil between changes!
    I loved that car---drove it across Canada and back with a spouse and 2 teen-age daughters---in fact both kids preferred driving it over the newer Civic.
    It left me 'stranded' twice in the 12th year---but luckily---in town---due to some difficult-to-diagnose distributor ailment---!
    It was only my second VW after owning a '79 Rabbit---for 10 years and 139,000km---a fun car all 'round---but nothing compared to the Jetta.
    It saddens me to read and learn of the myriad complaints about the brand's many and varied quality issues---and I truly feel for those owners that have been deceived in the ownership experience. It is ultimately left to Volkswagen to change its haughty German attitude---and match that so-called German Engineering with quality of parts, assembly, and service.
    When will we see it again?

    Ernie
  • grbeckgrbeck Posts: 2,361
    According to the Wall Street Journal, the new Golf is not meeting its sales targets in Europe. That can't be good news for VW.

    In addition to its quality woes, VW's marketing plans are muddled. VW should stop making products that compete with Audi and concentrate on the "mass market." Let Audi cater to the near-luxury and luxury market.
  • My best friend and my brother-in-law both own VW jettas, and after all the niggling little quality control problems came big honkin' electrical problems, alternator, fan, fuel relay etc. etc., while still under their generous 2YEAR WARRANTY. Wow. 2 whole years! VW must have a lot of faith in their product.

    To be fair, VW has recently extended part of their warranty to 4 years, more in line with the competition. the main problem after the problems were diagnosed was that both my friend and my brother-in-law had to deal with very difficult and downright surly service staff.

    After seeing what they both went through with the same late-model, supposedly improved Jetta, I think I'll be looking elsewhere. Too bad, cuz other than falling apart and breaking down, VW cars are quite attractively designed.
  • thor8thor8 Posts: 303
    Both VW and Mercedes recognized that quality has eroded in both brands, last year VW top CEO announced the creation of a panel to study and make recommendations to bring the quality of VW products to first class.

    Last month the second top executive of Mercedes made the announcement that they are aware of quality surveys showing the brand slipping, he said the company decided to make all necessary efforts, nothing would be spared to bring the quality to past levels and beyond, the goal is to make Mercedes the top quality brand, they would like to accomplish that by 2006 or 2007. He further added you have no idea how seriously and how hard we are working towards this goal.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    I can't wait to see what happens with MB's plans. How they'll do this lots of brand new products during that timeframe (new S, R-Class, ML, CLS) is really going to be interesting. If they do rise in quality, the survey clutchers will then say the surveys are wrong.

    M
  • boaz47boaz47 Posts: 2,750
    between MB and VW is how they treat the customer. VW parts and service has the attitude they are doing you a favor letting you simply stand in their building. MB treats you like you are a customer. That has been the limited experience I have had with MB and the many times I have been in VW parts rooms. Both might take some lessons in parts and service from Lexus and Saturn. But the worst part is that VW has a pretty good car if it just didn't break for no reason. Even with the little problems they would seem worth it if the stocked parts to fix what you needed fixing. At times you feel like you know where all the old Renault parts men went after the French were chased from these shores.
  • corvettecorvette United StatesPosts: 4,115
    Mercedes used to rank at the top of the quality surveys, and now they are near the bottom. I will believe that they are at the top of their class when they achieve it--not when they say they will do it. The proof is in the pudding. Right now, they're just talking trash without backing it up! I'm not sure that it is possible to achieve a quality turnaround by 2006-2007, much less rise above Lexus.
  • grbeckgrbeck Posts: 2,361
    Mercedes and VW have been trying to grow bigger in this country (Mercedes by expanding downmarket, and brining out an SUV; VW by moving upmarket and bringing out an SUV), and are running into the Toyota and Honda method of operation.

    As long as they maintained their niche status and relied on the "engineered for the Autobahn" image, they could get away with niggling reliability problems. People were willing to trade some reliability for the driving experience and style. But as they've tried to grow beyond their niches and become "mass market" brands with more "popularly priced" vehicles, they are discovering that with a larger customer base comes different expectations. And building less expensive vehicles poses a whole new set of challenges, especially for companies that have not had to worry as much about these costs before.

    Their factories have never been tops for efficiency, quality and productivity. Both brands depended on a fair amount of repair work as vehicles came off the line. This is fine as long as the sticker price supports that practice, but now that they feeling price pressures like every other car maker, they are discovering its limitations. They, like GM and Ford, must learn how to cut costs while maintaining quality. Any car manufacturer can make a part cheaper...but to make it cheaper AND better...that is the real challenge. Just like GM and Ford, they are discovering that Honda and Toyota have a big lead in this area.

    I would argue, in fact, that GM and Ford are ahead of the Germans in this regard. What saves VW and Mercedes (and BMW) is that their vehicles retain that unique German driving "feel" and remain the style leaders. But that will only carry them so far.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    Exactly! That is the best post I've read in quite some, and most certainly the best (most accurate) one about VW and Mercedes' situations here. Very well said.

    That ties into what I said here:

    merc1 "Ideas for keeping automakers true to their name/past" Feb 13, 2004 3:13am

    in another similar topic.

    Even more crucial is the fact that many are still willing to put with a unreliable German car for that driving experience. The Germans aren't going to be able to understand it if they lose this position in the market. Only Audi and VW really know what its like to be at rock bottom (1991-1993) in this country, Mercedes and BMW haven't been to that "we might have to leave the U.S." state of being yet.

    M
  • very clear and concise in your analysis.

    i think people also forget how hard-working americans are. in france and germany, auto workers get paid more and work shorter hours, while producing fewer cars. these countries are struggling with the challenges of matching production efficiencies in the world marketplace just like south korea and sweden.
  • grbeckgrbeck Posts: 2,361
    merc1 and 6thbeatle: Thank you.

    Merc, you hit the nail on the head when you said that Mercedes should not be pursuing volume. A Mercedes should be rare and special...I think Mercedes are much less impressive relative to the competition once you go below the E-Class. The C-Class Coupe has got to go (around here, they are driven by sorority sister types), and I wouldn't mind if Mercedes ditched the M-Class SUV, either. Let Chrysler and Dodge handle the volume markets, at least in this country.

    As for VW - it needs to get its quality act together (including better dealer service), and realize that this is more important than matching Honda and Toyota in volume, or moving upmarket with the Phaeton or Passat W-8.

    Everyone I know who owned a VW now drives another brand. They all say the same thing - "I loved the way the car looked and drove, but I just got tired of the constant problems that the dealer couldn't or wouldn't fix."
  • bpeeblesbpeebles Posts: 4,085
    (grbeck) WHen you say...
    "Everyone I know who owned a VW now drives another brand. They all say the same thing - 'I loved the way the car looked and drove, but I just got tired of the constant problems that the dealer couldn't or wouldn't fix.' "

    You have made the point best... it is most often the inept dealership service that chases away the customers. VW certainly can attract customers and have some the best-looking vehicles around.

    It would go a looonnnggg way to making happier customers if the little glitches were fixed properly the first time.

    I work with a guy that has less that 10,000 miles on his brand new Toureg.... Now that he has had to go to the dealership for some simple issues, he now beleives he made a mistake. It is NOT the vehicle, it is the dealership sevice that turned him off.

    Apparently, VW just does not "get it" that service after the sale is VERY important to keeping customers.

    Perhaps dealership mechanics in Germany are more competent or just better trained. I dont know.

    Personally, I drove PAST 2 other VW dealerships to get to the best one in my state. It is well worth the drive for me.
  • boaz47boaz47 Posts: 2,750
    VW has never got the service issue. This was the very issue that drove the French back to Europe. Even after some close calls VW just doesn't seem to get it and those of us that have had more than one VW aren't sure they ever will.
  • thor8thor8 Posts: 303
    Maybe not across the board, I don’t know but one dealer.
    6 or 7 years ago one day I decided to stop by the VW dealer, it was an old dingy building, the selection and numbers of vehicles was very limited, for miles before and after there are/were all kinds of dealerships, huge lots with hundreds of cars lights, banners crowds of people milling around, an army of salesmen hounding you, deals being negotiated, an air of a bazaar, by contrast the VW dealership was empty, an old warehouse turned into a dealership, old linoleum floor with squares missing with the other half bare concrete, dark with old worn out furniture, as I walked in far in a dark corner was a salesman reading a newspaper, he looked over it and kept reading, the only car inside the floor was a Jetta, I kept looking at the car and going over it and he never bothered with me, finally I went over to him and asked some questions, he answered yes or no without ever standing up, finally I asked him if I could test drive a car and he said no, I was taken aback, the dream come true of any salesman and this one had the attitude of don’t bother me. I shrugged my shoulders and left.

    Two years later I stopped again, this time they had more cars, more models, I liked the Passat and asked for a test drive, the jovial salesman gave me the keys and I was on my way, I ended up buying one, five years ago and never had a problem once.

    About three years ago they built a new dealership a mile down the Blvd, beautiful building, friendly atmosphere, lots of vehicles and models to see, fast and courteous service, the wife or I bring the car for service, no appointment needed, drink a coffee and go over a couple of cars and they are ready with the oil change etc.

    I think they are really improving, VW was on the verge of leaving the US seemed to me, they needed a good mix of vehicles first of all for the dealers to make it, as strange as it sounds they are the new kids of the block but I keep hearing stories similar from all directions. Maybe some are still on the first stage, I don’t know.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    Yes, it's the dealer that leaves the final bad taste in your mouth after having a problem with a new car.

    I truly believe people will forget small problems if the dealer handles them with promptness, courtesy and most of all fixes it right the first time. Things I've had to get fixed on my car aren't even remember once it's done. I *think* that's how most people are.

    This coupled with less frequent problems in the first place is the key, I think.

    Lexus owners rave about their cars being so reliable, yet in the same breath they'll tell you how great the dealership service was in the same sentence. The argumentive side of me wants to say, if the cars are so reliable, why in the hell do they talk about the dealer so much and why are they there so often....... However, there is something to be learned from this. If a Lexus owner has a problem (and some of them do) it's handled in such a way that the actual problem itself is forgotten and the dealership experience was so good, they actually DON'T MIND going there in the first place. Every European maker needs to study this concept at lot closer. They're making strides, but it doesn't seem to be widespread enough. Tough admission.

    grbeck,

    Oh what Mercedes should do. I can talk about it all day long. I think Mercedes should have the following models:

    C-Class. This should consist of two V6 sedans and a true Coupe with the same engines. No hatchbacks or 4 cylinders. This cuts down on the models and variations of each.

    E-Class. Pretty much fine the way it is. Just needs better reliability.

    S-Class. Ditto.

    CLK-Class. Ditto.

    I don't see a problem with all the above vehicles being "volume" cars, but the C needs fewer, more focused models. I mean right now the C240 is a "why" and "what for" model. The 4-cylinder C230 shouldn't be out powering it. That's bass ackwards.

    The following should be the truly "special" models and they are to a degree. Though it seems like everyone has an SL.

    CLS...a niche vehicle. Limited yearly production no matter how high the demand. Make this one exclusive.

    SL - Ditto.

    CL - Ditto.

    M-Class. This should have been a Range Rover competitor, you know something expensive and exclusive...you know something Mercedes knows how to build and really wanted to build. Instead they went the volume route with a Ford Explorer price and unfortunately quality to match. I want a RR competitor from Mercedes, and not the G, though it's just as or more so capable off-road, on road and interior wise it's a 1970's Nato rescue vehicle.

    I'm very worried about the quality of the upcoming GST (R-Class) being built at same plant as the ML. This is a huge opportunity for Mercedes with the cross over thingy. If they blow the quality on the GST, they'll never have any draw with luxury SUV/Crossover buyers, not that ML didn't do enough damage already.

    The key to this is making the business plan work fit this. I don't think it will with Chrysler in the mix. Then again it could if Chrysler took care of the volume end by selling lots more cars while making money on their own. Then MB could concentrate on the traditional.

    M
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    Oh the thread is about VW isn't it...lol.

    Well like I said before, VW's biggest problems are reliability and their dealerships.

    I can't remember where, but I did read where Mitsu and VW dealers rated their respective manufacturers the lowest of the low and that they hate their current relationship with them.
    VWOA clearly doesn't have its German parent's ear, otherwise we'd be getting the new Jetta first instead of the Golf (at the end of the year). I realize the Golf is the bread and butter on VW's Euro side, so I guess the Golf is more important. Guess that's why the Jetta got some minor changes this year.

    Thor8...I've been to two dealerships just like the one you describe. One here (Bill Jacobs) used to be combined with a Honda/Mazda store. Well Honda moved out to brand new, very nice facility, while VWs and Mazdas are still sold at a run down facility. The place is drafty, and just plain not clean relative to new dealerships.

    I thought VW had a plan in place to update all of their existing dealerships? The best dealers in the Chicagoland area are the only ones that sell Phaetons, with the exception of one in Schaumburg.

    I like VW's plan of moving upscale on paper, if moving upscale means still offering a product at the 15K level and then offering a VW in every segment up to the 95K Phaeton W12. If they plan on making the Passat any more expensive they can hang it up, plus they'll be killing Audi, which isn't the strongest of the 3 German luxury brands in the first place. They should offer a mid-level luxury car, but not in direct competition to the Audi A6. There are rumors of a crossover in that space, sounds like a good idea. Audi only has the A6 sedan and wagon there, even though I'm sure a VW crossover will take away some A6 Avant buyers.

    The reality of this upmarket push is that Audi is going to lose more than either BMW or Mercedes or any of the Japanese brands. The key is to offer upscale VW's that don't compete with Audi's so directly like the Phaeton does with the A8.

    VW needs to make Phaeton level service the norm for all VW cars, well maybe not the pick you up thing, as they sell too many Passats/Jettas/Golfs for that, but the general principles need to be applied across the board. The Touareg alone (a stunning product itself) deserves this level of dealer support.

    M
  • thor8thor8 Posts: 303
    Well is a slow uphill road, I remember in the early 70’s many of the Japanese brands were sold as a sideline at domestic dealerships, I remember right after the so called oil embargo I went to the Honda dealer and looked at a Civic I think, it was a small building in the used car section of a huge Ford dealership, even with all the doom and gloom of the oil crisis I couldn’t trade my perfectly good Pontiac Bonneville for less than 2K and end up paying another 2 or 3 K for that little car.

    My point was that VW dealerships were doing OK selling bugs and their variants, when the bugs were discontinued VW offerings were not that appealing, I remember people commenting the new cars would never be as good as the old bug and that idea persisted for a long time, those dealerships barely survived in a point of stagnant mediocrity, just a few years ago new life came to the VW line with the new models, I think of it as a wilting plant on a neglected pot and finally getting some water.

    I also agree with you about the Phaeton, it should be sold under the Audi name, the VW line should be caped at the Passat and instead a rugged pickup that could use the 560ft/lbs torque of the V10 diesel and the other excellent VW diesels and they also should go ahead and introduce that good looking sports car I have seen. That’s a hell of a good looking car. The W12 600hp sports car concept that has being going around for a few years should also be under the Audi line.

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