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Can VW Overtake Toyota and GM To Become #1?

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  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 29,166
    I like the size of the Element. Just thought they could have done a better job on the looks. Very practical vehicle. Except for the doors. Why Honda used that layout is beyond me. Toyota did the same and ruined the FJ Cruiser. Just not enough thought went into the design. I hope VW does more research and gets it right from the start. The Soul seems to be doing very well in the segment. I wanted to like it. Back seats very cramped. The original xB was roomier and my choice. Not sure why Toyota dumped a winner for that ugly xB they now cannot unload on the buyers. Will Honda continue with the Element? A little cleaner lines and I may give it another look.
  • steverstever Viva Las CrucesPosts: 41,935
    Honda announced a few months ago that this is going to be the last year for the Element. The load capacity was a bit on the light side but dog lovers sure loved the vehicle.

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  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 17,930
    Just not enough demand. People didn't like the rear entry or the four passenger capacity.

    Sales never really took off.
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,332
    I can't understand the four passenger capacity, in a vehicle that's wide enough for three in the back seat. Why not give the owners the capability to carry an extra person, on those occasions when it would be convenient to do so?
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 17,930
    Don't ask me. I didn't design them and at this point, it's too late.
  • steverstever Viva Las CrucesPosts: 41,935
    "Volkswagen Group more than tripled its first-quarter profit from a year earlier, as the German automaker delivered a record number of vehicles for the first quarter on surging China demand and higher sales through its Audi division. Volkswagen also widened its production margins.

    In the U.S., VW deliveries rose 16 percent from a year earlier to about 93,000 units. The company's U.S. market share actually slipped a tad to 3.0 percent from 3.1 percent a year earlier, as other car companies like Ford and General Motors also showed major American sales gains during the quarter."

    VW Triples Profits on China, Audi Demand (AutoObserver)

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  • steverstever Viva Las CrucesPosts: 41,935
    They won't be shipped until the second half of this year.

    "Chattanooga Mayor Ron Littlefield, who helped recruit the automaker, said the success of vehicles built at other assembly plants that have opened in the South shows there is no reason to doubt that Volkswagen's Passat will be a winner.

    "We went through all the jokes when Mercedes started their plant" decades ago in Alabama, Littlefield said. "All the jokes about whether Southerners can build cars. We can and not just NASCARs and hot rods."

    VW ready to start rolling new Passat off TN line (Yahoo)

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  • cannon3cannon3 Posts: 296
    and if this is VW's future... yikes! They cheapended this car dramatically. Drives terrible. They need to get back to the drawing board on the Jetta and quick.
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 29,166
    Did you test drive the new Passat or Jetta? If the new Passat is going to sell for $20k I would expect it to handle more like the junk from Toyota or Honda. After 2 weeks with an Accord I can tell you it ain't worth a hoot on handling or noise. Americans have proven so many times they are not interested in good handling. They want cheap cars to get them back and forth to work.
  • steverstever Viva Las CrucesPosts: 41,935
    Chattanooga is building the 2012 version, which is different from the 2010 one that's out there now. With a $20k sticker price though, the cheapness will likely be even more evident.

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  • fho2008fho2008 Posts: 393
    I would agree with that statement, however, having a mkv Jetta, I am also dissapointed with the decontenting, or cheapness of the new model. In the end its all about sales numbers, low price=better chance for a sale.
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 29,166
    Maybe you can tell me. Are the Jetta and Sportswagen TDI on the same platform and both built in Mexico? The Sportswagen in the UK is called the Golf Estate. Same exact vehicle as far as I can tell.
  • fho2008fho2008 Posts: 393
    AFAIK the jetta left the golf/jetta/jetta wagon lineup, leaving the golf and jetta wagon as basically the same vehicles with obviously differences like a longer wheelbase and other differences.

    I think all including new jetta are made in mexico.
  • steverstever Viva Las CrucesPosts: 41,935
    A reporter is interested in speaking with customers who recently purchased a new Volkswagen Jetta.

    If you are interested in commenting on your experience, please reply to pr@edmunds.com no later than 5pm Pacific this Wednesday, May 11th and include your name and email address.

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  • harlequin1971harlequin1971 Posts: 322
    The older Jetta wagons were indeed based on a lengthened Golf platform and were not actually 'Jettas' - but that is not accurate either, the old Jettas and Golfs were both built on the same platform.

    The difference maker in 2005 and older Jetta Wagons was country of origin. Golfs and Jetta wagons were both built on the same assembly line in Germany. The Jetta Sedans were built in Mexico. Now, all the Jettas, wagon or sedan, are built in the Mexico plants (since 2006...note, no wagons were built from 06-08).

    Another thing worth knowing is that the Mexico plant has benefited from expensive upgrades in automation and assembly line efficiencies. VW wants lower costs/prices and the easiest way to do that was to reduce the amount of time it takes to complete the build of a new Jetta - the new rear suspension was one of those extreme cost-savings decisions that was made.

    I am also optimistic that the new automation (upgrades initiated in 07/08) mean better build quality and reliability/safety. I just purchased a 2008 Jetta GLI in hopes that it will benefit from those improvements and be more reliable than street wisdom would have you believe.

    All that said, the current Golf is still German built (as is the current Passat for now) and if that CoOrigin matters to you, you can make a choice.
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 29,166
    The current Jetta Sportswagen is identical to the Golf Estate sold in the EU. Are they all made in Mexico? Or just the Sportswagens sold in the USA?
  • fho2008fho2008 Posts: 393
    I have a 2008 Jetta Wolfsburg, same 2.0T you have but not as rough suspension, (drove a GLI, could feel every ant you ran over lol) love the car.
  • steverstever Viva Las CrucesPosts: 41,935
    After the grousing (it's decontented!), it actually sounds pretty good. Bigger, simpler - "It's like a Crown Vic that's been to finishing school."

    2012 Volkswagen Passat First Drive (Inside Line)

    Another shot in front of the Hunter Museum in Chattanooga:

    image

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  • steverstever Viva Las CrucesPosts: 41,935
    edited May 2011
    VW Evaluates U.S. Audi Plant (WSJ)

    Shot of the TN plant:

    image

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  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 29,166
    That is some plant. I would bet the people of TN are happy to get the jobs. Wanna bet they don't allow the UAW in to muck it up for them.

    If they can build a CUV with a 4 cylinder diesel to compete against the Ford Escape hybrid, they should have a winner.
  • berriberri Posts: 4,268
    VW and the Koreans have gotten much cheaper labor in their US transplants than Honda or Toyota. Don't know why the people down there accepted such a cut rate wage (the pay package is dramatically cheaper, something like $27/hr labor & fringe vs. $50), must be hurting for jobs. But this is going to give VW the same potentially large cost advantage as Hyundai and Kia. I suppose there may be a bit of a risk that as the economy improves those cheap waged workers are going to get upset, but that's probably at least a few years down the road. My big concern about buying a VW is both reliability and the VW dealers, so I don't see myself being a customer in the immediate future.
  • steverstever Viva Las CrucesPosts: 41,935
    edited May 2011
    My first real job in Chattanooga back in '74 came in around $8,900 a year iirc. Forgot what I got per hour selling cameras over Christmas at Service Mechandise, but I do remember liking the $5 spiffs for selling the cheap cameras instead of Kodaks.

    If a worker quits, I'm sure plenty of others will apply for her job.

    Older article, but it says $12.66 will be the starting VW wage vs $14 that new UAW workers get under their 2007 contract.

    Chattanooga: VW plant could push up local wages (timesfreepress.com)

    Newer article says the numbers now are $12.50 for VW and $14.50 for new UAW hires.

    GM and Ford still have double the wage/benefit costs because of legacy workers though.

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  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,695
    edited May 2011
    It's like a Crown Vic that's been to finishing school."

    And that's really what you're looking for in your new Passat. ;-)

    The decontent-supersize-and-price-cut plan isn't going to work for VW in helping it achieve its goal of pumping up American market share. It's just going to make it clear why other makes are so much better deals, because VW still can't undercut the prices of the others and now they don't even have as nice a car either. And it will certainly need more repairs than all the others.

    Why even try to dominate market share anyway? That goal was the worst idea GM and Toyota ever had.....

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

  • steverstever Viva Las CrucesPosts: 41,935
    edited May 2011
    Why even try to dominate market share anyway?

    Good question - guess they wanted a challenge.

    “Normally you don’t have this kind of idea just waking up in the morning,” Christian Klingler, VW’s global sales and marketing chief and a board member, told journalists assembled in Manhattan last Monday. “Three or four years ago, we created a 10- or 11-year strategy. Since we announced the plan, a lot of people have said, ‘Go for it, [but] we don’t believe you at all.’ I’m sorry – we’re going for it!”

    VW Becoming Number One Will Require Flying Leap (AutoObserver)

    image

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  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 29,166
    My understanding is VW is out to be the largest in the World. The US is already a 2nd rate market behind China. Last I checked VW is number one in the EU, Brazil and China. Only a few hundred thousand vehicles behind Toyota World wide last year. I don't see them actually trying to be number one in the USA.

    Even a million in 7 years without any PU trucks will be a big feat. I don't think they need to sell that many in the US to be Number ONE in the World.
  • steverstever Viva Las CrucesPosts: 41,935
    edited June 2011
    I used to live on that ridge back there (Missionary Ridge). For 3 months back in the 70s anyway. The triangular roofed buildings are the Tennessee Aquarium on the river.

    image

    Volkswagen sales in May blew the doors off:

    If VW Can Meet U.S. Goals, It May Be 'Game Over' (AutoObserver)

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  • texasestexases Posts: 5,694
    Sure, they're up, but I still put the chance of them meeting their 800k by 2018 goal as near-zero.
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 29,166
    A lot can happen in 7 years. VW is positioning itself to take advantage of higher fuel costs. It sells the only real competition for the hybrids. Sales are up in a month that many of the other auto makers have faltered. I think their 20% gain YTD is one of the highest. If they can overcome the reliability stigma attached to them, they may pull it off.

    If I sell my Seqouia, the Touareg TDI is at the top of my list to replace it. The new Touareg TDI is selling very well for an over $50k SUV. Up 107% over a year ago. I believe the new styling (which I like) and the higher mileage rating are making them a good choice. No domestic or Japanese company has anything that competes on all levels. And Touareg TDI's won 1-2-3 at Dakar this year. Only one close was BMW. And they are now the top luxury brand in the country.

    I am rooting for them and their new US plant in TN.
  • steverstever Viva Las CrucesPosts: 41,935
    I think it's a real stretch too. Not to mention that VW dealers don't have the greatest reputation, so even if the cars are enticing, some of us are a bit leery about the service after the sale (based on my sister's '00 New Beetle ownership experience in my case).

    Chattanooga's a big TVA city; maybe that'll help keep the Lord Lucas electrical gremlins at bay.

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  • steverstever Viva Las CrucesPosts: 41,935
    "The 2012 Volkswagen Beetle will start at $19,765, including a $770 destination charge, when the car goes on sale in October."

    2012 Volkswagen Beetle Priced (Inside Line)

    image

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