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My LAST VW
Have you been VW'd lately...?
My LAST VW Mistake
Um, we mean Drivers. Riders or passengers need not apply...?
Is a German Car Made in Mexico a German Car?
VW, Its One "THING" After Another...
Is VW now giving away Jettas with Trek Mountain Bikes?
Drive it. You'll get it. You'll regret it...
Sometimes you have to learn your own lessons.
Looks:10; Attitude: 0.
A 2000 J. D. Powers & Associates study found that VW owners
liked the new designs but scored low the historic VW dealer and
manufacturer mistreatment of consumers down the road after the
gets you nada at
VW. My three new Volkswagen and VW "authorized" dealer
experiences (mistakes) include the following:
- VW#1 - shipped and sold
with known unrepaired manufacture defects. I was told by the
mechanic at the time that VW and other manufacturers often ship
vehicles with known defects of incomplete assembly, fully expecting
the consumer to have to take the time and expense of returning
the vehicle for repair under warranty. Clever, eh, having your
quality assurance program merged with your warranty program?
Customer service as defined by the auto industry...?
- VW#2 - Dealer siphoned
a full tank of diesel fuel and removed trim items between test-drive
and drive off. (Customer service?) (Is the engine optional too?
- VW#2 - Throttle cable snapped
three different times, each in freeway traffic.
- VW#2 - Smoke from dashboard,--
clock and instrument panel dies.
- VW#2 - Authorized dealer
sought to repack CV joints 10,000 miles before manufacturer recommends
this work. Calls to other service shops reveals, "they'll
want to do that earlier then necessary."
- VW#3 - Hidden damage repair
on "new" EuroVan (door panel cleverly repainted over
clear coat, taped off at detail indentation lines to avoid detection.
Clearcoat not re-applied) (Dealer / VW refuse to inspect, deny
responsibility after sale). Some new car, eh?
- VW#3 - Undisclosed damage
on "new" EuroVan (razor blade-thin clear-coat scratch
- $1700 - $2000) (Dealer / VW deny responsibility after sale)
- VW#3 - Fuel tank extends
outside front to rear chassis frame beneath driver's seat, exposed
to side impacts
- VW#3 - Unreinforced brittle
(unreshapable) fiberglass rear bumper (exposes vehicle to major
damages in minor impacts) (Customer service?)
- VW#3 - Catalytic converter
beneath passenger compartment heats vehicle requiring constant
- VW#3 - Fuel pump fails
just after warranty expires. Reason given (after sale) for failure:
low fuel level stresses the fuel pump.
- VW#3 - Front wheel brake
rotors require retooling upon first inspection within one year
- VW#3 - Front tires required
replacement within two years of sale.
- VW#3 - Air conditioning
pressure switch ($200) fails within two years of sale.
- VW#3 - Erratic and unreliable
- VW#3 - Exterior vinyl detailing
bubbled, cracked and peeled within two years of sale.
- VW#3 - Misleading representations
about future rebates prior to purchase.
- VW#3 - Incorrect information
about brittle, unreinforced fiberglass bumpers on the EuroVan
- Three times VW staff at its "1 (800) new product info
line," stated emphatically that the unreinforced, brittle
fiberglass rear bumper was reinforced with a steel bar, when
in fact no steel bar reinforces the rear bumper to protect the
expensive rear deck and window from minor impacts. VW's attitude
seems to be the same as most other manufacturers: if the laws
the industry lobby to enact or water down do not require rated
bumpers, than why bother? The net effect of this anti-consumer
attitude is to pass along costs to consumers and insurers (ding-dong).
VW has not changed the rear bumper or gas tank design in three
model years, although almost every other mini-van maker has consciously
and conspicuously placed the fuel tank between the axles and
between the chassis frames, after over three hundred people were
burned in GM truck fires allegedly resulting from collisions
involving GM's side impact exposed fuel tank designs. The side
impact exposed gas tank remains exposed to side impacts outside
the front to rear chassis frames under the driver's door on the
VW EuroVan three model years after it was first introduced into
the US market. The 1996 Winnebagoed VW EuroVan continues to display
the same fuel tank and rear bumper configurations of the 1993
- VW#3 - Air Ciruclation
Fan Kaput - Four hours labor at $85./hr to remove dashboard just
to get to the fan. $150.00 for new fan.
- VW#3 - Faulty Ignition
- VW#3 - Dashboard Gauges
repeatedly overload fuses.
- VW#3 - Engine cooling system
failure (plus towing and down time)
- VW#1, #2,
#3 - Overpriced
(especially given shabby quality and salesmanship)
- VW#1, #2,
Underpowered (a VW tradition)
- VW#1,#2,#3 - VW no help with
dealer issues - plays customer ping pong - wap-wap-wap back and
forth between dealer and manufacturer
- VW#3 - Authorized dealer
replaces battery under warranty --battery two sizes lower than
size specified as standard for vehicle.
- VW#3 - VW and dealer refuse
to merely reimburse the fair market value of the rebate mis-information
and the hidden damage repair and the undisclosed defects to make
the deal whole.
- VW#1, #2,
- As a three time new VW buyer, VW and its dealers have not shown
a genuine interest in my continued business or making my last
two deals whole. (See info above about VW's general lack of positive
consumer rapport and its abysmal lemon dispute ranking as reported
by others. Where have the 500,000 (+) VW buyers per year of the
early 1970's when the Beetle was a bug gone: to Saturn, Honda,
Toyota, etc...! -- cars with proven track records of quality
and maintenance (at least paying more than these cars is worth
is rewarded with statistically better quality and consumer value).
- VW#3 - Third fuel pump
($500) installed. VW refuses to consider reimbursing this cost.
Bosch reimburses $400.
- VW#3 - Air handling fan
replaced ($500), four hours labor to remove dash board required.
- VW#3 - Air conditioner
begins to leak. Repaired ($125) and reported that drain line
was "pinched", oh, I mean plugged up. If pinched, it
likely occurred as a result of the dashboard removal above. If
plugged, well, you get the idea. Had the leak been associated
with a bad heater core (coil?) the flat labor rate alone would
have been $600 alone. Something to look forward to and to budget
- VW#3 - Engine cooling system
failure (again), on the day before Christmas Eve 1998 a cooling
system hose breaks in traffic. Another tow. Tow company plays
games with price, claiming to not know about Alstate Auto Club's
basic membership program, tries to charge twice the usual per
mile towing rate. VW deakership is open on Christmas Eve, but
cannot look at problem until Saturday at the earliest, or more
like Monday, five days later. Here's looking forward to paying
"flat-rate" hourly repair rates to help subsidize the
high overhead of the wealthy. This means we pay "book"
fees for repairs even it the work takes less time... some service,
- VW#3 - Misc service repairs
- $1500 (October/November 2000)
- VW#3 - New Tires - 4 -
$650 (January 2001)
Beetle to Bedraggled, Behind VW's Stunning Decline," Sept. 1993 (at your library, a long
and sad twenty year history of how to run a car company into
Reports, rates EuroVan, February 1993 (at your library, notes concerns about
gas tank placement and expensive cheap brittle unreinforced rear
bumpers) the 1998 model of EuroVan which now sports a
window sucker (sticker) price of $32,000, continues to display
the fuel tank outside the chassis frame beneath the driver's
door, exposed to side imppacts.
- Motor Voter
Press, (Now CARS: Consumers for Auto Reliability and Safety),
"Motor Voters Releases Lemon Index," Motor Voters Press,
1500 West El Camino Avenue, Suite 419, Sacramento, CA 95833-1945
(916) 920- 5464 (fax - 920-6465). VW scored the worst by a factor of
three over the ninth worst rated manufacturer (ten rated) in the number of formal
lemon dispute complaints filed with the California DMV, Dept.
of Motor Vehicle Repairs / industry sponsored mediation services.
- Auto Safety
424-9393 (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration), to obtain a computer
print-out of safety related and customer reported problems with
vehicles by make and model year. Check out consumer reported
safety records of new and used car models before buying. If it
is so new that there is not a paper trail, consider buying another
make, model and year, or wait, or just don't buy it. (800) 424-9393
- Voice your
concerns about VW product and customer service to CEO, Clive Warrilow,
VW, US, 3800 Hamlin Road, Auburn Hills, Michigan 48326 (810)
340-5000,-- (810) 340-5010 (fax), or Dr. Ferdinand Piech, VW,
AG, POSTFACH, 3180 Wolfsburg 1, Germany. (If VW's CEOs are too
busy to take your calls or respond to you directly, perhaps you
should be too busy to reward this company with your business...?)
(February 1993 and subsequent). Consumer Reports typically rates
new vehicle models with its February through April issues. Consider
awaiting reviews of new vehicles for bargaining chips before
purchasing. Even recommended buys are not perfect, and even the
most trouble-free model years have are not completely unproblematic.
And until you buy one you can never be guaranteed that even a
"recommended buy" model will perform without additional
or unexpected expenditures of money and time. Lemons come in
all colors, sizes and makes and models.
1993). "From Beetle to Bedraggled, Behind VW's Stunning
US Decline," outlines VW's twenty year history of losing
market share in the US reportedly due to poor product quality,
low customer satisfaction (CSI) and poor initial quality (IQS)
surveys. (at your library?)
- Motor Voter's rating of 10 manufacturers according
to the number of formal lemon dispute complaints filed against
the car makers scored VW the worst among ten car makers ranked
in 1993 in California, and worst by a factor of three over the
9th worst ranked car maker. You may contact or subscribe to Motor
Voter (Now, C.A.R.S., by phoning: (916) 759-9440.
- Not surprisingly these issues and problems
were not included in, "Volkswagen World," a promotional
brochure recently sent to VW owners by VW. However, VW did highlight
a VW that had over 200,000 miles on it, which just goes to show
you, that if you make enough cars over enough years, eventually
you're bound to make a few mistakes.
another example of VW serving itself rather than its devoted American consumers
was when it stopped shipping the Beetle to the US, although it
is still polluting the air of Central and South America as it
is available in Brazil and Central America for about $7,000 US.
VW was unable or unwilling to re-engineer the Beetle to accommodate
US environmental and safety requirements. Now, nearly 20 years
after it stopped shipping Beetles to the US, VW wants Americans
to buy its Concept 1, supposedly the Beetle's replacement. Coming
Soon (spring 1998) the new buggier Beetle from Mexico, starting
(perhaps) at $16,000, more than twice the costs of the real "old"
or "orginal" VW Beetle which sells in Brazil for $7,000
perhaps thank VW for
halting import of the (Old) Beetle, but it likely did this for
reasons other than American consumer needs and desires. The Beetle
continues to pollute the air of South and Central America, despite
VW's window sticker claims of environmental responsibility. Check
with The Center for Auto Safety, Washington, DC, and with the
NHTSA about consumer reported safety and maintenance issues before
buying used Beetles or other Volkswagens. VW's past may be prologue?
Ditto for other makes and models of automobiles.
- VW stopped
production of the undeservedly popular Vanagon (NHTSA has reams of
consumer reported safety and maintenance problems), denying American
consumers an outdoorsy sport van with superior interior space
(perhaps its only plus). The Vanagon was fraught with quality
and maintenance problems -- (check it out with NHTSA). Rather
than re-engineering the vehicle and fixing its flaws, VW just
ceased production without notice (?). In its place, VW momentarily
shipped 93 EuroVans during model years '93, '94, and '95, then
suspended shipments of all but select EuroVans with camper packages
by Winnebago, pricing its product out of reach of the traditional
VW van consumer. Is this more of VW's commitment to customer
satisfaction and service?
we should thank VW for stopping production of this failure prone
vehicle, but VW likely did not base its decisions on consumer
needs or wishes. It just stopped making them, likely to cuts
its loses over quality problems. Although the VW van displays
superior interior space allocation, this hardly justifies the
$5,000 or more increase in price over the standard competition.
Only the Winnebagoed version of the EuroVan MV is currently available
in the US (1995-1996). Is this customer service or VW's self
service? If you want to see ugly, check out the EuroVan when
the flimsy rear bumper caps pop off,-- ick!
Its Baaack! The Eurovan is now (1998) available
with or without the Winnebago camper package, again in the US
at a price beginning at more than $30,000... apparently VW's
idea of customer service. The Eurovan continues to sport side
impact exposed fuel tanks and unreinforced rear bumpers. However,
rather than a three piece rear bumper, the bumper is a single
piece, which means if damaged on the ends, the entire bumper
will likely need to be replaced... apparently another example
of VW going out of its way to service its customers.
- Check with
Washington, DC for a list of consumer reported safety and maintenance
problems with this and other vehicles before buying used versions
(see phone number for NHTSA on CARveat Emptor's Buyers Reference
- VW ran
ads in the early 1990's saying its sales were up 100% over the previous
year. Perhaps, but if their sales were only 43,000 (+/-) as they
were in 1993, this would still place VW's sales under 100,000
-- not a great showing over the 1993 figures. 100% of nothing
is still nothing. -- question all advertising assertions. Ads
are not ads, they are subtractions from you and I.
- A Bay Area
VW dealer in
its classified advertisements said it was rated number one in
customer satisfaction. What the ad omitted to say is that the
ranking was an inside rating between a limited number of VW dealers,
not an industry-wide ranking of dealers or makes of vehicles.
This same dealer seemed to be closer to the truth when it ran
ads which simply stated "CHEAP" (not inexpensive, but
cheap!) next to the official VW logo.
- A young
family from Wisconsin reports that they have had a nightmare with their
1993 EuroVan camper. Major engine problems at 50,000 miles and
a continuous list of quality and mechanical problems costing
them extra in personal time and family finances to have addressed
unsatisfactorily by the dealer and VW. More happy VW campers?
- Tires for
are a particular problem. You cannot get them from dealers and
often have to wait four or five weeks for special tires if they
can be found.
- I hope
those new Mexican Jettas are a good value. But I wonder what's wrong with
them that VW appears to be giving them away with nothing down
and $199.00 / month. Sounds too good to be true. Someone mentioned
VW was selling Jettas in the US at less than Germans pay for
them in Germany. When I mentioned this to an acquaintance, it
was suggested that this sounded like "dumping". Perhaps
VW is dumping Jettas here to bolster unit sales after taking
a marketshare bath over the past twenty years, when its sales
slid from 560,000 units per year in 1972 down to a mere 43,000
in 1993. Looks great, what wrong with them? Made in Mexico and
Brazil where there may still be quality problems? Is a German
car made in Mexico a German car?
Perhaps a more apt VW advertising slogan might be, Suckers Wanted?
VW it appears that its one "THING" after another. The TREK bikes will
come in handy for getting around after towing the Jettas in for
repairs. Perhaps VW is finally owning up to its quality problems
afterall. But why would TREK chance jeopardizing its name and
reputation by joining forces with VW? Perhaps this is TREK's
contribution to society or charity to a needy cause...?
VW Works With Newspaper Against Consumer / Auto Classified Advertiser? After placing and
renewing a truthful and honest classified auto ad several times
(three or four times) soliciting offers for this vehicle awhile
ago in the San Francisco Chronicle under its "Seven/Seven"
(If it doesn't sell in seven days, get seven additional auto
classified days free), the newspaper canceled the ad without
notice while offers were being received from callers including
another VW dealer in the So. Bay conditioned upon my "shutting
up about the deal and vehicle." The tentative and conditional
offer was withdrawn upon cancellation of the ad. The reason the
Chronicle gave when asked by phone why it had canceled the ad
without notice, was that "you cannot seriously be seeking
offers because the ad is too honest." No wonder I couldn't
get out of it what I'd put into it. Apparently the Chronicle
believes as apparently do many dealers, that honesty does not
pay? Would VW or its "authorized" dealers have gotten
a call from the Chronicle prior to any of its ads being canceled?
Notice also that neither the Chronicle nor the Examiner have
editorialized positions about fraudulent or unfair and manipulative
auto sales and service practices which cost America's friends
and family values billions of dollars annually (fraud alone cost
consumers over $22 billion in 1995 according to reputable consumers
advocates as reported in the mainstream media) Not a peep, er.,
beep! The Constitutional right to a Free Press is guaranteed.
Every car maker and dealer should have at least one in the garage?
a consumer reward VW with
his or her business? Great German engineering? European cache?
Masochism? Etc.? Many consumers have decided apparently that
other vehicles and companies offer better quality, value, service,
and satisfaction. VW's US sales were reported to be a mere 43,000
units in 1993, down from over half a million VWs (insects, er.,
Bugs) sold in the entire US in 1970 (Advertising Age, Sept. '93).
Wish we were making this stuff up. VW squished in US? They are
trying, nearly giving Jettas away to build up market share --
make sure if you buy one, to get the best deal of your life,
and expect to pay any savings all back down the road for repairs?
Hey, the Trek bicycle might just be the trick to take consumers
mind off VW's problems. And the bike will be handy when the car
is in the shop, as they often appear to be. Don't pay extra for
the VW though.
= To make a slow or arduous journey... perhaps an apt metaphor for the VW
deal, and the Great American Car Deal. But wait a minute, --VW's
current GTI and Golf ads feature the speedy nimbleness of their
products? Hum? Slow arduous vs. speedy? You decide and you pays
your money and takes your chances...good luck. A San Francisco/Oakland
Bay area VW dealer is advertising its business (or is that its
products) using the word "CHEAP" in big letters. We
couldn't agree more, at least they got this much right. VW, CHEAP,
if you've never owned one, or gone through the VW deal grinder,
you don't know just how cheap...
look for it in english. (no? non? nine?): Volkswagen commissioned a book, "Volkswagen
and its workers during the Third Reich," by Hans Mommsen,
which outlines Volkswagen' s use of slave labor in providing
vehicles and munitions for the German WW II machine. VW is apparently
so proud of this illustrious past that the book is not scheduled
for translation into English. An ad-quality promotional photo
of Mr. Adolph Hitler standing behind a line of shiny black Beetles
("People cars") flanked by trench coated SS officers
at a christening of the opening of a Volkswagen manufacturing
plant in 1938 is available from World Wide Photos, 50 Rockefeller
Center, New York, NY 10020 (212-555-1212)- Directory Assistance).
Schott (Former Cincinnatti Reds Owner) is reported to have said that, 'Hitler
had some good ideas in the beginning, you know, before he went
a little crazy.' (sic-k).
Could she have meant Hitler's Peoples' Car
or would this make the Concept-1,
VW's "New Beetle" VW's final design resolution?
What, you mean
the "New Beetle" won't be called, the "Hitler"?
At least Ford put his name on his automobiles.
Beetle" has same old bugs... VW has recalled (less then three months
after these little insects were loosed in the environment) all
8500+ VW 1998 "new beetles" sold in the US due to a
wiring problem which may be a fire hazard.
wish to wait a few model years for VW and the Bill Gates of the world to
work the Bugs our of the "New Beetle" before making
your next VW mistake. At VW's $15,200 base price there are other
tried and true products available with known track records. And
it is reported that VW's Mexico factory is not able to meet the
demand (a sure sign of potential quality problems) for its all
new and improved and cuter "New Beetle", promising
to add hundreds of dollars to the sticker price. Waiting until
the New Bugs get worked out of it , and for VW to tool up to
meet demand is the prudent advice to consider. Otherwise, we're
talking risky consumer business.
interesting perspective on the the Third Reich, The New World Capitalist
Party, and Socialism try: "Blackshirts and Reds: Rational
Fascism & The Overthrow of Communism," by Michael Parenti
-- tells about Ford Motor plants in Germany, which supplied equipment
to the SS war effort, being protected from US bombing, etc. [Money
was / is the ruling ideology]
Other Car Is Not A Volkswagen"
buggier VW-Mexican Beetle,
(VW's Concept One) now promised by VW for over three years (building
up demand to inflate demand = increased price?), is reported
to be coming out in the spring of 1998. The only pictures we've
seen show it conspicuously in Lemon Yellow (Truth in Advertising?).
Made in Mexico! Supposedly to be available 'starting' at over
"ONLY" $16,000. Its perhaps one of the better $3500
sub-compact automobiles on the market for $15000 to $25,000.
In its category, sub-compact, it apparently fared better than
the others in Insurance industry tests for bumper and body damage
at slow speeds under laboratory conditions.
consumers let automobile fruit ripen on the manufacturer's and
dealer's vine (lot) to increase the dealer's and manufacturer's
demand for consumers, and to let the less savvy consumer guinea-pig
the bugs out of VW's "new" Mexican Beetles (Fire Bugs?).
The new Beetle Blazers. Test-fire one at your local VW dealer.
to wait at
least a model year or two, for other unsavvy consumers or bug-eyed
"Beetle" lovers to help VW work the bugs out of VW's
your walking skills and bring the US price of the VW Concept 1 /
New Beetle down closer to its Mexican and Brazilian prices. Surely
VW's consumer satisfaction and customer service policies permit
it to pass along its "low-wage" costs savings by manufacturing
in Mexico and Brazil, to its US customers, right? Practice your
walking, take it or leave it, and dealer milking skills, pleasantly,
cordially, and cheerfully, of course.
If you just
practice your walking skills. Plant the heal of your left or
right foot and push off with the other foot, doing a 180 degree
maneuver, or just make your best lowball offer and dig in your
heels and spurs and pull, always courteously, of course. Again,
if you absolutely "need" one, develop a convincing
detachment or disinterest in the product to avoid paying too
much. Beware the novelty factor in this new product (its really
not a new or old Beetle, ist just another expensive repair unit,
which may or may not be an improvement or benefit to you), which
dealers will use to inflate price. Real buyers are not sold,
they buy. Is VW passing along its savings from cheap (free-traded)
Mexican labor to its Mexican-made product consumers? Beware of
exterior design aesthetics gussying up sleazier innards underneath.
The people you think will be looking at your bugging around in
your new Beetle (assuming you don't get a lemon), are merely
looking at themselves in the $2 clearcoat shine.
VW is still
the "Original" Beetle in Mexico and Brazil. They reportedly
sell in Brazil and Mexico for $7,000 (US) (Window Sticker price?).
Hum, this would explain why the "All New and Improved"
VW Mexican Buggier Beetle is reported to "start" in
the US at $15,200...? A savvy consumer's first question of the
dealer should be why is its customer pricing service in the US
incongruent with its customer service pricing in Mexico and Brazil
for a product which is made in Mexico using "Cheap"
labor...why isn't VW passing along its labor saving costs to
its US consumers... never mind that even the $7,000 Mexican and
Brazilian Beetle is likely worth less than $2,500 US.
A Betta Jetta?
Apparently, Consumer Reports that the VW Passat has run the Toyota
Camry off the CR recommended best family sedan road... although
it has been reported that consumer satisfaction with dealer and
manufacturer treatment after sale lags in consumer surveys.
Two more VW-critical sites:
With The Dealer
Hidden Profit$ | Consumer
| Car Consumer Resources
| Car Deal Repair Kit | My Last VW Mistake
Reasons" | Lemon
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