By on September 27, 2011

At the Frankfurt Auto Show, when all the festivities and pageantry are over, it is customary to stroll through the booths, stands and halls of the competition to find out what they have. The real research is done by faceless drones that pose as journalists or customers. The drones must have brought back alarming intell to Halle 3, where Volkswagen holds court: “Ach du mein Lieber, Hyundai fielded a fearsome adversary to the Golf with the new i30.”

The whole white-haired Volkswagen board dropped their coffee cups and invaded the Hyundai display, led by Prof. Dr. Winterkorn, CEO of Volkswagen. Winterkorn himself sat behind the wheel of the i30. The former head of Quality Assurance was shocked:

He pulled on the adjuster of the steering column, and heard – nothing. At Volkswagen, there is an audible (“klonk!)  feedback whenever the steering column is adjusted.

Immediately, Klaus Bischoff, head of Volkswagen Brand Design was summoned. He pulled on the adjuster: No sound.

“Da scheppert nix,” exclaimed Winterkorn in his heavy Bavarian accent. “There is no rattle!”

Winterkorn was livid: “How did he pull that off?” He, the blasted Korean. “BMW doesn’t know how. We don’t know how.” He, the blasted Korean, must have found out how to battle the dreaded Scheppern.

Tension is high. This could affect careers. Someone quickly explains that there had been a solution, “but it was too expensive.” That gets Winterkorn is even more enraged. “Then, why does he know how?” For less money. He, the Korean. There is no answer. Hyundai has beaten Volkswagen at the Scheppern front.

Winterkorn measures the A-pillar, runs his hands over the plastic. He walks away, his entourage trots after him. Deeply in thought and very worried.

Winterkorn’s Strategie 2018 calls for a decimation of Toyota. Toyota will be behind Volkswagen this year. The new enemy, much to Volkswagen’s confusion, is GM. Now, with a silent i30, will Volkswagen have to fight Hyundai?

The Japanese are just as worried of the Koreans, and will gladly join a coalition.

(And if Hyundai snuck the original video on YouTube: Good for them. That’s how it’s done these days in the propaganda business.)

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115 Comments on “Volkswagen’s Winterkorn Rattled By Non-Rattling Hyundai i30 – This Could Cost Careers...”


  • avatar
    Philosophil

    It seems to me that VW has peeking over it’s shoulder at Hyundai (and Kia) for a while now, taking a few carefully aimed pot shots every once in a while as well to let them know they’re looking. I recall VW execs complaining about Hyundai’s pricing a while back, and now they’re seeing themselves being one-upped by the Koreans on various quality issues as well. This is the kind of thing that would definitely put a chill in their veins. Interesting stuff.

  • avatar
    Davey

    It’s about time Winterkorn got a little more humble. He needs to get off the high horse and realize other companies…OTHER COUNTRIES are capable of making good vehicles.

    Recently Ford introduced Sync in Europe. When Winterkorn was asked if/when VW would have something similar he said they already did and it was on the market. Are you kidding me? They don’t have anything remotely close to Sync. Sure, Sync has issues but at least they are trying.

    Winterkorn needs to look at their competitive fleet that they have in Wolfsburg and spend more time in it. Thinking you’re the best without actually looking at the competition is crazy.

    Winterkorn is also a HUGE guy. I’d hate to be on the receiving end of his beatings.

    • 0 avatar
      VanillaDude

      After attending university in Germany, I have to tell you how often I see Germans stunned that they are not the best at something like this. They get routinely broadsided by their stereotypes, far more often than Americans. Especially Bavarians, but then, that would be a Bavarian stereotype, wouldn’t it?

      “No surprises”, seems to be a motto in Deutschland. They do not like surprises. I’m certain Herr Winterkorn got rattled.

  • avatar
    Volt 230

    Get your head out of your uranus, Mr Winterpopkorn, are you kidding? don’t you know your brand has been in the crapper for years and years, ever since the demise of the original Beetle.

    • 0 avatar
      Educator(of teachers)Dan

      There’s a difference between “knowing” and being “smacked up aside the head with it.”

    • 0 avatar
      jmo

      don’t you know your brand has been in the crapper for years and years, ever since the demise of the original Beetle.

      The Golf is the best selling car in Europe the Polo is the third best selling car – how that equates to the crapper, I have no idea.

      • 0 avatar
        Volt 230

        referring to reliability surveys in US I don’t live in Europe so what sells there does not concern me, since the days of post-Beetle VW cars, all kinds of issues appeared which were not there when the Beetle was King of the small, economy car.

      • 0 avatar
        psarhjinian

        Best-selling is not directly related quality or reliability. McDonalds, for example, sells a lot of hamburgers.

        Or, in automotive parlance, GM sold a lot of Cavaliers.

      • 0 avatar
        jmo

        referring to reliability surveys in US

        Well as Bertel has mentioned on many occasions, reliability isn’t the be all end all of a successful car brand.

        http://henk-bekker.suite101.com/list-of-20-best-selling-car-manufacturers-in-germany-in-2010-a328223

      • 0 avatar
        Hildy Johnson

        “Best-selling is not directly related quality or reliability. … in automotive parlance, GM sold a lot of Cavaliers.”

        Well the obvious flaw in this argument is that Cavaliers were sold for cheap, while VWs are not. Instead, their prices are usually at or close the top within a given class of cars.

      • 0 avatar
        bd2

        Reliability-wise, VW is in the “crapper” in Germany according to AutoBild, finishing near the bottom in their latest reliability report; Hyundai finished at the top.

        Eh, it’s nice that Winterkorn is impressed by certain things in the new i30, but every automakers does certain things well.

        I’m sure there are Hyundai execs poring over some of VW’s latest offerings commenting on how VW did this or that well.

    • 0 avatar
      n777ua

      Are you kidding? Do you think anybody is buying up your ill-informed, disjoint, mostly untrue-logic? Your partisan blinder goggles are sure doing a smack up job. Saying things like this about the company which makes some of what the industry regards as the world’s best cars – Bugatti Veyron, Lamborghini Gallardo, Bentley Contientnal, etc. – is just shameless and shameful trash. When you say things like that, there’s no way in hell that you can every be taken seriously, by anybody. But you know that – you’re here to get your partisan pot shots in, to back up your own preconceived, pre narrated bias, and to justify the purchase of whatever you spend your money on to drive. I’m always saddened to read trash like this online, even moreso when the poster actually believes he’s hitting his talking points on key, when in actuality he’s just digging a big hole while the rest of us laugh in slight amusement.

      • 0 avatar
        Zykotec

        I believe it’s the ones who are not blinded by the supercars VW happens to make that are laughing in slight amusement tbh. No-one can possibly seriously believe that VW makes reliable cars compared to any Asian manufacturer. I would still say that most of their cars (especially Audis) feel a lot more expensive that their Japanese or Korean counterparts and look better (well, that’s subjective, and the new range of Hyundais look great), and have greater diversity in engine and interior and engine options etc., but reliability, nope…Better than French cars, yes, Compared to Ford and Opel, just barely.

  • avatar
    Secret Hi5

    Autoblog did this story yesterday and sourced it to http://www.auto.it.
    http://www.auto.it/salone_auto_francoforte2011/hyundai/2011/09/23-9339/Winterkorn%2C+il+boss+VW+visita+lo+stand+Hyundai.+%22BMW+non+ci+riesce%2C+noi+non+ci+riusciamo.+Com%27%C3%A8+che

  • avatar
    sfbiker

    I had a Hyundai Elantra wagon, the least sexy car on the planet, that I used when I was a salesman. My customers were schoolteachers, and I didn’t want to embarass myself with a flashy car.

    That Hyundai did 100,000 miles in under two years, driving around the Arizona desert. I flogged that car, hard, and it never had a problem. I replaced fluids, tires, and brake pads, and finally replaced belts and hoses at 90,000 miles. That car was a 1999, and they’ve gotten much better since then. I wouldn’t hesitate to buy another one.

    But the car I had before that was a Volkswagen Fox. I drove that car 70,000 miles over six years, after buying it new. I replaced the cv boots, joints, and the entire front end at least twice. The motor rattled after 30,000 miles. Everything felt cheap, even cheaper than the Hyundai. It left me stranded on two occasions, and when I finally unloaded it, I vowed “No more Volkswagens”.

    My girlfriend bought a Jetta in 1998, and had so many problems with it, she raised hell with VW USA, copied the Ohio Lemon Law in her letter, and VW bought it back.

    VW is sucktastic.

    • 0 avatar
      Volt 230

      Well, good to know I’m not the only one who believes VW is crap, compared to what they used to be, FWD and water cooling at the same time was too much to handle< I guess.

    • 0 avatar
      wagonsonly

      I’ve had several Volkswagens, among them the least reliable of the North American junk heaps (first car was an ’83 Westmoreland Rabbit; additionally I’ve had another Rabbit, a ’92 Cabrio, and ’00 and ’01 New Beetles). Great driving dynamics, but horribly undependable. A little over two years ago, I bought an ’09 Elantra Touring, manual, loaded. It drove okay on the test drive, the engine felt a little unrefined but no worse than my 2.0L Beetle, and the chassis was “okay.”

      In the 29K miles I had it, though, the shock absorbers started wearing out, the tires went nearly bald, and on several occasions it simply failed to start. The engine was incredibly thrashy sounding at anything above 55MPH. 5th gear seemed simultaneously gutless going uphill and far too low given the engine noise at highway speed. The upholstery was cheesy and wore horribly. Mind you, I drive a lot, but I don’t thrash my cars – I was only using it as a highway cruiser/commuter. Finally, when the TMPS system sensor broke off in my hand, deflating the rear tire, with a snowstorm imminent, I decided to give up on the car. No more Hyundais for me – likely ever. (The TPMS sensor wasn’t mishandled, I didn’t curb the wheel or hit the valve stem, and the runaround I got from three local-ish dealers was enough to swear me off Hyundai forever.)

      The 2003 Subaru Baja that my wife bought, at precisely the same time, has, in the same time period, required a new set of tires and 40K worth of oil changes. And compared to the price we paid for it, it has actually appreciated in the last two years.

      • 0 avatar
        Jlhtch

        It’s too bad that your experience was so poor. My experience with Hyundai has been nothing short of outstanding. Several of my friends and family members are trading in their vehicles, which happens to include a disproportionate number of Subarus, for Hyundai and Kia vehicles also. Everyone’s experiences that I know of with Hyundai/Kia have been overwhelmingly positive save for one person who purchased a Mitsubishi Precis which was essentially a rebadged Hyundai Excel nearly 30 years ago.

        It was my wife who insisted on purchasing a new 2007 Santa Fe over my hesitation. The vehicle has been an absolute work horse. And my wife does thrash the vehicle. It has nearly 200k miles and still very solid. It doesn’t leak oil, doesn’t burn it. It is still on its original set of spark plugs. Other than tire changes, oil changes, one transmission fluid change, one coolant change, a singe serpentine belt change, brakes and wipers, the vehicle has been solidly reliable.

        We are looking to upgrade the Santa Fe to the new Veracruz once the redesign comes out. I just purchased a 2012 Accent which does get excellent fuel mileage.

        As for me, I won’t look at anything other than Hyundai unless it’s a Kia product. I will concede on full size pick ups. I will have to purchase a domestic if the need for one arises as the imports have nothing that is even remotely competitive.

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    Wasn’t Winterkorn head of QA at VW?

    If so, wouldn’t a better question be “Why aren’t, eg, window regulators a wear item?” instead of “Why doesn’t the steering column thunk when we adjust it”

  • avatar
    Rod Panhard

    Anybody else notice on Wikipodiatrist that the i30 was designed in Russelsheim? For all we know, the “he” Dr. Winterkorn refers to is a “Herr” rather than just some drone at a desk in Korea…

  • avatar
    Volt 230

    It’s actually embarrassing that the head of a company that has been building cars for over 70 yrs has to admire the craftsmanship of one that was making cheap, disposable cars 20 yrs ago.

  • avatar
    carguy

    The VW board inadvertently stars in a great ad for Hyundai.

    Never mind the lack of rattle but the circulation of this video must be making some folks at VW less than happy.

  • avatar
    arun

    I know that VW gets a lot of hate here in the US but after 10000 miles (admittedly not enough to form a lasting impression), I can honestly say that my 2011 VW CC is the best car that 30 grand can buy out here. Not one single problem with the car and what a drive!

    P.S: I read somewhere that VW cars are extremely fussy when it comes to maintenance. So despite dealer and factory recommended fluid changes at 10,000 miles, I do so every 5000 miles. Maybe that helps ?

    • 0 avatar
      JMII

      My ’00 Passat (now @ 95K miles) was great too… for the first 3-4 years. Seriously I loved the car: tight, solid, great build quality, torque-y turbo, 30 mpg, sweet interior, cool lighting, comfy seats, plenty of trunk space.

      However since then just about everything has broken: turn signal fell off, headliner fell down, two window regulators broke (common problem in all VWs), paint chipped, LCD trip computer/temp display became unreadable, random coolant leaks, various suspension bits failed, A/C died, ABS computer crapped out, even the antenna broke somehow. It just became too much… the last straw was a few months back when the glove box handle broke clean off in my hand – now we are talking about part I touch once every six months when I switch out my insurance paperwork. I’m sorry but this is completely unacceptable! Compare this to my ’02 Dodge Dakota (85K miles) which has required about 80% less dealer visits and spent its whole life outside in the FL heat where as the Passat was garage kept. Well not anymore… these days the VW is outside and my truck stays inside. By the end of this year the VeeDub will be sold and I’m getting a Nissan. I’ve only kept it this long because it was paid off and gots 30mpg which is twice what the truck can do.

      • 0 avatar
        arun

        Damn…I hope my CC lasts longer than 3-4 yrs!! Earlier in TTAC (or was it Leftlane ?) I read an article where people will more often than not (60% or so) buy the better car (as measured by objective standards) if they use their emotions and not logic/ rational. Man I hope that is true for my case!

      • 0 avatar
        truenorth

        There are entire websites that explain how to repair broken glove box handles.

        Unfortunately nothing on the peeling interior trim (including rear door handles that were used very infrequently).

        Nothing on the immobilizer that had to be replaced TWICE and left me stranded at least once.

        Or $1400 timing belt changes.

        Frequent fluid changes won’t help any of this.

        I’ve enjoyed owning this car but I wouldn’t sugar coat this either.

  • avatar
    Sundowner

    I had a 2010 Jetta TDI, the most painful 10 months of car ownership in over 20 years of owning cars. the cars are borderline garbage, the service departments questionably literate, and the customer service deliberately antagonistic. NEVER AGAIN.

    • 0 avatar
      DeadWeight

      I loved this video because it was uncensored and gave a front row (or back seat) and direct perspective into the thought process of VW’s top exec. This is a rare find and a gem that all the studies and reports and printed words in the world could not supplant.

      I don’t have a database to back my claims (although Consumer Reports, which relies on tens or hundreds of thousands of reader supplied feedback, supports my experience), but Volkswagens have been the least reliable cars that I, my immediate family members, and friends have owned (the only cars matching the new generations of VW unreliabilty was a late 1980s era Pontiac that I owned, and a friend’s circa-2993 Hyundai Excel).

      The one caveat is one female friend who has owned two Jetta’s (a 2006 and now a 2009), with the 2009 giving her no major problems so far, but the 2006 having two major problems that were covered under warranty (leased car).

      I agree with those who are stating the opinion that VW brass should focus more money, time and R&D on building reliable and durable vehicles (and maybe offer longer bumper-to-bumper warranties), rather than obsessing about whether there is or is not a particular sound when adjusting the steering column.

      A car can have great fit and finish, and very refined kit, but if it is constantly in the shop, or worse yet, repairs are draining your wallet or leaving you stranded, it’s all for naught.

      As it stands now, VW is not even on my radar, nor that of family or almost all of our friends, for the reasons I spoke of.

      I realize VW has been selling well and gaining market share, so maybe our experience and opinion isn’t important in the grand scheme of things.

      • 0 avatar
        jmo

        I agree with those who are stating the opinion that VW brass should focus more money, time and R&D on building reliable and durable vehicles (and maybe offer longer bumper-to-bumper warranties), rather than obsessing about whether there is or is not a particular sound when adjusting the steering column.

        It just looks like car buyers in other parts of the world have different priorities and reliability and durability rank lower than handling, fuel efficiency and build quality in the minds of new car buyers.

      • 0 avatar
        Volt 230

        Those who claim VW is looked upon favorably in Europe, look at the competition, British cars and French cars, which ones are bigger POS is up to debate, so of course they’re gonna make VW look like top tier quality, even Ford in the Uk has been revered for their quality for decades, even when they were bad here.

      • 0 avatar
        wagonsonly

        @Volt – then why did the Ford of Europe cars disintegrate when they got here? (Scorpio, Capri and XR4Ti come immediately to mind.)

      • 0 avatar
        Kevin Jaeger

        hose who claim VW is looked upon favorably in Europe, look at the competition, British cars and French cars, which ones are bigger POS is up to debate, so of course they’re gonna make VW look like top tier quality

        The Japanese brands attempt to sell their cars in Europe, too. They were able to take the market in North America after Americans suffered through enough Vegas and Citations. But against superior competition in Europe the Japanese have won fairly marginal market share.

        It does appear the Koreans will be a much bigger threat in Europe, though.

      • 0 avatar
        mike978

        Volt – you are talking crap on this one. Europe has more competition than the US with more brands competing. The Koreans are there, the Americans are there, the Japanese are there and plenty of European brands. VW has increased its market share and has around 20% – very impressive. Toyota has 4% and Honda 1%. The Koreans are doing better with around 7% (Hyundai/Kia combined). Hyundai are competing very well and that shows in the US too. There are no British cars anymore – Land Rover/Jaguar is Indian.

  • avatar
    benzaholic

    Love your speculation about Hyundai posting the video.
    That would just be so much WIN.

  • avatar

    Secret Hi5, smartypants:

    The Italians, Autoblog and we pulled this from YouTube, where a nice person by the handle of Sidacia had it uploaded nearly two weeks ago. From the edit history, I venture the guess that Sidacia is close to Hyundai.

    We provided the needed audio cleanup, the subtitles, and the Bavarian to English translation. Neither Autoblog nor Auto.it deserve any copyright or credit. The credit goes to someone who was quick on his feet, and to Hyundai, which will most likely deny ever having seen the clip.

  • avatar
    Hildy Johnson

    Winterkorn ushered in an era of great success at Audi, and he is doing the same at VW. He is much more rational and level-headed than Piech ever was. That he’s taking Hyundai seriously simply shows that he is doing his homework. He has stated publicly before that he considers Hyundai his most dangerous competitor, and that Hyundai were building good cars.

    Lt. Dan and other Detroit bumblers could learn a thing or two from him.

    • 0 avatar
      david42

      Agreed: While it may be slightly embarrassing that Dr. Winterkorn is praising the competition, it would be far more embarrassing if he pretended that their cars don’t deserve the praise.

    • 0 avatar
      hreardon

      I’m with Hildy. Winterkorn’s work at Audi underpins the current MLP and upcoming MQB platforms and he was directly responsible for significantly improving Audi’s quality assurance.

      While the video does seem humorous in many ways, it is also very telling that Winterkorn is willing to so carefully inspect the competition. Based upon his tone, he does not appear to be very happy about what he sees. No doubt there will be some mandated changes to the forthcoming Golf VII and A3 before their launches next year.

  • avatar
    segfault

    Huh? I don’t remember the tilt/telescope steering column in my 1999.5 Jetta clunking when it was adjusted. I do, however, remember the countless dealer repair visits, both in and out of warranty.

    • 0 avatar
      Robert.Walter

      Take it from a guy who knows: lots o’ steering column water under the bridge since then. Totally different steering column mojo since then. Your experience with the ’99 is no longer really valid.

  • avatar
    onthercks07

    Few observations…

    1) It is FANTASTIC to see that the old-school, @$$-kicking CEO still exists. Bringing a ruler around must make James May pee in his pants about how German it is but truly, watching him have his millionaire underlings measure the A-pillars was an instant classic.

    2) VW isn’t stupid. They know exactly what they’re selling to the public. They also know how easy it is to keep your head in the sand about your superiority and have it all blow up in your face.. cough Toyota…cough. While Fortress Europe may be VW-owned for now, let’s wait and see how the oncoming depression forces the masses into the cheaper and more reliable arms of the Koreans.

    3) Watching this from the perspective of a Korean is really awe-inspiring. Twenty…hell…TEN years ago, Hyundai was nothing. Less than nothing. More like crap. Now?? Dominate baby. Just dominate….!

    • 0 avatar
      hreardon

      He – I chuckled about the ruler as well. This is what chief executives should be doing – measuring the competition against themselves and then making honest evaluations about what needs to be changed. I’ve known far too many business owners who have stuck their heads in the sand only to be steamrolled by an upstart competitor.

      This video shows that VW recognizes the threat is real. How this could be anything but good for consumers is beyond me.

      • 0 avatar
        th009

        … and Winterkorn’s example powerfully demonstrates to the rest of VW’s employees that they, too, should worry about Hyundai.

        It may only be a small clunk in the steering column, but checking for it in a Hyundai sends a powerful message.

    • 0 avatar
      orthorim

      My thoughts exactly. That Winterkorn was at Audi and head of QA can only mean good things for upcoming model year VWs. That was pretty much their only weak point, and it might soon be of the past.

      That he’s taking the i30 so seriously is also a very good sign. Hyundai is kicking ass – IMO they are the new Toyota, except with better design. VW on the other hand is kicking ass as well – during the financial crisis, the were investing in development when others were cutting back… They will reap the rewards of that in the coming years. It already seems like VW and Audi just have much more attractive, better cars than either the Japanese or the US carmakers.

      Winterkorn knew full well somebody was filming this, and he still what he did. +1.

  • avatar
    MarkP

    I have a 130,000-mile 2001 VW Golf tdi that has had almost no problems (after a month-long wait at the dealer for an airbag sensor replacement immediately after I bought it). It has given extraordinary fuel economy, a decent fun factor, and reliable service. On the other hand, our 2005 Honda CRV, which has a very good reliability reputation, gave us crap for service in its 80,000 miles. We spent about $4000 on repairs in its life and it still needed about $1000 worth of repairs. instead of repairing it we just traded for a 2011 Jetta tdi. Your mileage may vary.

    • 0 avatar
      korvetkeith

      I rode to lunch the other day in a 130k mile 01 tdi. It dropped it’s timing chain, and hung the valves, which hit the pistons. They reccomend replacing them at 90k.

      • 0 avatar
        krhodes1

        An ’01 TDI has a timing BELT, not a chain. And it does indeed have a change interval of 90K miles. Ignore at your peril, just like every other car with a timing belt.

        I have put 500-600K or so across the 5 VWs I have owned (’84-’02 vintage), and had excellent service with all of them. Same with my multitude of friends and family who have been VW owners. Including my friend with the near 300K mile ’03 Jetta TDI. I think the worst thing that has broken on that car is a door handle microswitch.

    • 0 avatar
      onthercks07

      Don’t go to Vegas! Your luck has run out

    • 0 avatar
      jastereo

      Very true on the YMMV – I have a 2005 CRV with around 130000 miles on it. Straight normal maintenance with the exception of a Vtec sensor that went out to the tune of 150$ or so (but didn’t leave me stranded). Let’s just say I’m not planning on jumping from Honda to VW any time soon after reading any of the MANY comment strings devoted to VW horror stories.

      Hyundai/Kia and probably getting a very serious look this next time around though (and was before this post). Something I’d have never thought I’d say 5 years ago.

  • avatar
    Brian P

    I have no real argument with the way my 2006 Jetta TDI has been, either, and mine is nearing 342,000 km. No plans to replace it any time soon.

    But … I am not troubled by any slight noise that the tilt-steering adjuster might make. In fact, I don’t even know if it makes a noise, nor do I care.

  • avatar

    Last October I looked over a new Golf at a nearly vacant dealer and a new Accent GL at a dealer crawling with humanity on the same day. I was curious about what the lowest priced car was actually like. The Golf was slick and so forth, but the Hyundai was reasonable especially for the price. I nearly drove off in the Accent.

    In actual practice, I bought a used Corolla for my down-payment money.

  • avatar
    Robert.Walter

    “Tension is high. This could affect careers. Someone quickly explains that there had been a solution, “but it was too expensive.” That gets Winterkorn is even more enraged. “Then, why does he know how?” ”

    A certain steering column supplier to both VW-group nd BMW will soon be feeling the heat…

  • avatar
    The Doctor

    Maybe I’ve missed something here, but why is Winterkorn getting so much flack for this? If VW was genuinely interested in the Hyundai they’d send some underlings to prod it on the stand, not the CEO.

    This was obviously for domestic consumption to show:

    a) VW’s CEO is still hands-on and has great attention to detail
    b) The company is not getting complacent and acknowledges its competition
    c) The chief executive is not afraid to hold people to account (Klaus, by the sound of things…)

    I’d have been much more worried if he’d taken a look at the i30 and laughed.

  • avatar
    Robert.Walter

    BTW, the action of the steering column adjustment mechanism was a thing that really pissed-off Herr Spaltmass when he was head of Audi ca. 1994 …

  • avatar
    Dimwit

    I also find it interesting that MB is no where heard. Deiter and the boys don’t get any respect in der fatherland? Do tell.

    Does anyone know the reasons for the freeze out of the Asians? Is it a time limited agreement or something? It would make sense that VW would be worried if Hyundai could flood the Euro market like they’ve done to the N/A market in a few years after free trade limitation has passed.

    • 0 avatar
      TEXN3

      Probably is electrically adjusted, not manually.

      My 98 Acura doesn’t make any clunks, but my 07 Subaru does. Cars are getting cheaper in efforts to either save weight or money.

  • avatar
    CJinSD

    VW sweating the noise made by a steering column release lever makes as much sense as an FAA investigator getting bent out of shape upon discovering that someone on board a plane didn’t get their kosher meal before it crashed. Maybe they should put some focus into their hair wired electrical systems, amateur engine configurations, and frangible transmissions.

    • 0 avatar
      mike978

      Amateur engine configurations? Are their transmissions any less reliable than industry standards? I agree they were the first to a well received dual clutch system, still waiting for Honda’s attempt.

      • 0 avatar
        CJinSD

        Learn something about cars. Anything at all. You’re 0 for a thousand vapid remarks. Talk to someone who has had a dual clutch VW for a while. They’ll tell you about the inordinately expensive annual maintenance required to keep warranty coverage, which VW extended due to failures and then backdoored the cost to the consumer by making you pay for your replacement transmission in installments. As for amateur engine configurations, learn something about head design and then look at a VR anything. Having half the cylinders fed by long, superheated intake passages and half the cylinders exhaling through restrictive exhaust ports is not best practice.

      • 0 avatar
        Kevin Jaeger

        I wonder when the Honda fanbois will start nattering on in every Hyundai thread rather than VW threads. Honda’s starting to get smoked by Hyundai now – I guess we should expect them to rag on about those awful Ponys and Excels over and over and over …….

      • 0 avatar
        Jlhtch

        Hyundai is better than Honda from my experience dealing with both makes. Hyundai has come a very long way and their engines, transmissions, and sheet metal simply outclass Honda. Hyundai gives us direct injection, twin scroll turbocharging an upcoming automated dual clutch transmission and the liberal use of high strength and ultra high strength steels along with great designs.

        Honda provides a mildly updated Civic that Consumer Reports won’t even recommend.

        Once the turbocharged and direct injected Veloster is introduced, Honda will be totally outclassed not to mention whatever Hyundai is doing with the Genesis coupe.

      • 0 avatar
        Brian P

        Just for the record, the DSG requires a fluid change at 64,000 km (not “annual” except for some people). My dad has one and didn’t report the 64,000 km service to be inordinately expensive. He never had any issues with it until he traded up (for another VW). They do have a different feel from a normal auto-box when driving them, which some people can’t deal with. For me, I’d still rather row my own gears, but I’ve driven dad’s many times, and the DSG is the only auto-box I’ve ever driven that I haven’t hated.

        I’m the hi-miler in the family; my dad buys new cars when he wants one, not because he has to. I keep cars until the foreseeable cost of keeping them on the road another year exceeds what they’re worth. My previous TDI was sold at 10 years and 462,000 km, original engine, original clutch, original (row-it-yourself) transmission, timing belt changed by the book, oil changed by the book, but rust was starting to pop up. The current one has 342,000 km, original engine, original clutch, original transmission, all maintenance by the book.

      • 0 avatar
        CJinSD

        The warranty being extended combined with an increase in required maintenance occured to a friend who had a 2008 GTI DSG. The San Diego area VW dealer wanted an incredible amount for the service, which I’ll spare repeating here. When I’ve posted it before, another VW GTI owner said the transmission service was $400 in his area. The interval was more like 12 to 15 thousand miles, not 40,000 miles. By 40,000 miles, he’d long since soured on the GTI. I think it had 50-55K miles when he settled his lawsuit with VW and sold the car.

      • 0 avatar
        Zykotec

        Anyone who has driven a German car regularly is bound to love the dual clutch boxes, anyone who has driven a Honda with a manual built since, well, at least 1983 will not want anything different ;)

      • 0 avatar
        hreardon

        @cjinsd -

        If your friend is having to perform DSG maintenance every 12,000 – 15,000 miles then; there is some major problem with it (lemon), he’s beating the crap out of it, or, he’s a fool for not reading the manual , which states pretty clearly that the fluid should be flushed at 40,000 miles.

      • 0 avatar
        mike978

        hreardon – +1 but then I might not be the only one to make “vapid” remarks and know nothing about cars (although I did own two VW’s – a Mk IV Golf and a Seat Ibiza TDi (essentially a Polo)) – CJ is just a regular on here for that and is well know for his hyperbole. At least he hasn`t wished me dead (yet) unlike some of the other threads where he wants people to die. He has no credibility. I would love to know what his answer is for Honda having <1% of the EU market (when Hyundai/Kia have 6-7) and Toyota have a massive 4%!.

  • avatar
    TAP

    Those who believe VW hasn’t been about quality since the original Beetle forget just how marginal that car was in -yes- quality, especially post- 1967.
    Little things like engine fires that couldn’t be extinguished, oil leaks, and unreasonably intensive maintenance.
    Hell, if driven over ~65mph on a long trip, overheating was inevitable.
    I am speaking from experience.

    I owned a 2002 Jetta 1.8T for 4 years with no problems AT ALL.

    • 0 avatar
      onthercks07

      Your experience with the 2002 Jetta is so rare you should write into the Guinness Book of World Records. I had to give so many rides to girls with craptastic Jettas from that period that I thought VW was trying to get me laid

      • 0 avatar
        tallnikita

        Word! I would like to thank VW for all those hours I spent in 2002 discussing with my office mate her Jetta’s intermittent and completely unpredictable engine failures that the dealer could not replicate. She had great assets.

        My 50K miles in Golf III were completely uneventful, however.

    • 0 avatar
      LectroByte

      Marginal? The heaters in my ’67 and ’70 were marginal, but other than that, remarkably rugged and durable cars that were stupid-easy and cheap to fix when something did break. My ’74 Super Beetle even had a decent heater. Don’t remember any fires, overheating, or any worse oil leak problems than anything else had back then. The original beetles earned their reputation, IMHO.

  • avatar
    Hildy Johnson

    Whatever one choses to make of this somewhat awkward and humorous display of his management style, Winterkorn is the best CEO at VW in recent memory, if not ever.

    Winterkorn has hit upon a radical cure to VW’s most dangerous long-standing disease: No, it’s not quality troubles, but the absurd level of overstaffing and low productivity at Wolfsburg.

    Instead of fighting the very powerful unions, he simply resolved to restore the balance of workforce and workload by radically growing the business. What is often ridiculed as megalomania and likened to equally obvious and inadequate historic precedents here by some, ahem, not very objective observers, is in fact a rational and positive way forward for a company that OTHERWISE might be in danger to follow the downward trail blazed by GM.

    • 0 avatar
      joeaverage

      I’m really surprised that they didn’t just quietly buy a Hyundai to teardown instead of parading around the competition’s car at a public show. Or – gotten permission to look it over before or after public viewing hours.

      What is this big deal about a quiet tilt adjustment? Both my ’97 VW Cabrio and my ’99 CR-V both have a lever that simply clamps the steering column at a particular angle and uses friction to hold it there. The levers and mechanisms are silent unless you clumsily bump the tilt mechanism full top or full bottom. Who cares?

      This seems like a teenage debate between one cassette deck that unceremoniously dumps the cassette door open with a clunk + bump and the fancier variety that eased the cassette door open slowly. Of course the latter is nice but it’s not that big a deal. On my cheaper tape palyers i simply caught the door with my finger so it didn’t bang.

      How about fixing the many ailments any brand has with things wearing out or electrical gremlins??? How about an aluminum engine component vs a plastic one instead of the soft steering column tilt adjustment. Or chrome door handles.

      Most of the recent brands I have spent time in have greatly upped the game with nice feeling switchgear and levers.

  • avatar
    ciddyguy

    I’ve known that in general, German cars of most stripes are more unforgiving of maintenance lapses than just about everyone else, but when you DO keep up the maintenance, they DO often serve you well, unlike the Japanese and now the Koreans where general maintenance need be done by the book necessarily but as long as it’s done, they hold up and are reliable, sometimes to a fault.

    That’s the difference between the two cultures and America, it seems, seems to fall in the middle of these 2 extremes, at least these days.

    This whole maintenance by the book was even true for the earlier VW Beetles and buses as are most European cars in general over the Asian and N. American brands.

  • avatar
    340-4

    Well well. Looks like I, a former and ‘never again’ VW owner might just give Hyundai a solid look.

    You’re worried about an adjustable steering column, Herr Wunderkorn?

    How about worrying about your automatic transmissions and wiring harnesses and front ends and… hmm…

    …the repercussions of your brilliantly decontented and cheapified new models…

  • avatar
    Michal

    The worst car I have ever owned (reliability and quality wise) was a German engineered and German built Mercedes. Never again. The Germans should stop pretending only they can build a high quality vehicle and stop being surprised when someone else manages to beat them.

  • avatar
    Advo

    Are you sure the car is not a ringer, planted at the auto show to drive the competitors’ management paranoid?

    I guess you can’t pull that off at a public auto show, although I’d be tempted to after seeing this, then explain that ‘unexpected’ production changes altered the cars journalists are later allowed to drive.

  • avatar
    jeffzekas

    Whenever there is a discussion about VW, there are initially horror stories, followed by love letters. This leads me to the following conclusions:

    1. There are 2 species of VW: the Euro-versions, which are reliable, and the ones everyone else gets, that are built like crap.

    2. VW hires people to visit blogs, and counter any negative comments with glowing praise.

    3. Volkswagen builds crap cars most of the time, but occasionally gets it right, on the days when the QA guy visits the production line. If you are lucky, you will buy one of these perfect VW’s.

    • 0 avatar
      AMPKinase

      I’m going to go with option 3 on this one.

      When I was in the new car market, I took a long and hard look at VW. The wide disparity of opinions regarding reliability pushed me away. It just didn’t seem worth the risk (and possible expense). After all, most people will agree that Toyota makes a reliable car. Most people however would not say the same for VW…well, except for those who got that perfect one…

    • 0 avatar
      Zykotec

      I will go with a Number 3 on this, but with a slight mix of 1 and 2 on the sideline. And I would say that more or less goes for all car production outside Asia.
      The cars VW built in the 80′s and early 90′s were more or less (compared to the market then) what the Koreans build today. Having Germany as their biggest market gave them a head start in the perceived quality department, but what kept their cars running was to a great extend the crudeness and simpleness. IE, there wasn’t much that could go wrong. At the same time older car makers like Ford and Opel were making crap quality cars. In the early 90′s the Golf was the most ‘car-like’ crappy hatch you could buy. Even if a Civic was a lot more fun, faster, cheaper to own etc., it felt crude and noisy compared to a Golf, and to most non-enthusiast buyers that was enough.

  • avatar
    swedishiron

    VAG is NOT the example of high quality. I owned a 1985 Audi 5000 and it was absolute JUNK compared to my 1985 Volvo 740GLE (which also saved my life from a driver’s side 50MPH T-bone). I read Road and Track last night and their Audi S4 long term with ONLY 22K miles has already had the car strand them due to the loss off all coolant due to a faulty thermostat, the steering tilt function has failed AND the TRANSMISSION has FAILED! just 22K miles!

    My young female attorney neighbor bought a brand new Merc C-class right out of law school and her FIRST year out of warranty is thinking about selling it after spending @ $2500 in maintenance and repairs.

    • 0 avatar
      Robert.Walter

      The world of automotive technology has changed a lot since 1985, e.g., around that time Audi began zinc plating their class-A sheet metal to eliminate rust-thru. This after being known not long before for their rust-prone vehicles… it took the rest of the industry a while to follow suit.

      If you can’t cite more contemporary examples, say in the last 5-years, the stories, while interesting may have little bearing due to the changes in tech and management (Hyundai prooves this point quite nicely by having got their act together in the last 5-6 years.)

      • 0 avatar
        swedishiron

        I just cited Road and Tracks CURRENT Audi S4 issues just within 22K mikes, take a second read! There are PLENTY of RECENT VAG issues if you go to VWortex – 3.6L engine failures, V10 diesel issues, CVT issues, 1.8T coil packs that owners were gluing back together. 1.8T sludge issues. Engine oil ring installed upside down. My manager leased an Audit TT maybe 8 years ago – the dash cluster failed, $2K repair at the dealer if you had to pay out of pocket for a relatively new car. The older TTs are notorious for the dash gauge cluster failure.

        My 1985 Volvo 740GLE had a migrating zinc coat too – BIG DEAL. More importantly it had 4 wheel disc brakes which I surprised to find out the 1985 Audi 5000S didn’t.

    • 0 avatar
      ellomdian

      Jesus… Why would any law grad with the lack of brains to shop a C-Class not just lease the damn thing.

  • avatar
    MarkP

    Reliability ratings are statistical. If a car has a bad rating (as VW had for some time, particularly around the time that my very reliable VW was made), it means that some percentage of people have reported problems. It does not mean that every car has that problem. When someone reports good luck with that car (as I have had) it just shows that not every one of them has the problem. And when someone reports reliability problems with a car that is rated highly (as I did with our ’05 Honda CRV), it means that not every one of those cars is problem free.

    There is a saying that some of you may be familiar with: The plural of “anecdote” is not “data”.

  • avatar
    Junebug

    I have a 2008 GTI with DSG transmission. VW sent me a letter telling me they extended the warranty to 100K on the DSG due to problems some people had. Then, they sent a recall letter for me to get the mechatronix (spell?) replaced for free. Since I was close to the 40K fluid change (40K service is $350.00 at my dealer) the dealer did the fluid change for free, I only paid for the filter. On top of that, they gave me a new Passat to drive over night while it was in the shop. And I didn’t even buy it from this dealer! I’ve had the car 3 years now, 53K miles, only thing I’ve done is oil changes every 5K miles with Mobil1 and replaced tires at 42K. I did get a CEL and they replaced the PCV under warranty. It’s been a great car and is praised by Top Gear, Car & Driver and ME!

  • avatar
    arun

    I am just curious as to how many people here who trash VW quality can also give information (admittedly anecdotal) about the maintenance done for those ‘trashy’ VW vehicles by their respective owners.
    This is mostly because whenever I hear stories about extremely reliable VWs, then nine times out of ten, they have also had their maintenance done religiously by their owners right from the get go. Somehow I think this makes a big difference. I am wondering if the converse is also true – if not maintained diligently enough, will they go to the crapper far quicker than say a Toyonda?

    • 0 avatar
      Ubermensch

      I was religious with my maintenance and my 2001 Passat was still a disaster. Regardless, none, I repeat, none, of the problems with my car would have been preventable with maintenance as they were non-maintenance related parts that failed.

      I hear the argument that most VW problems are caused by lack of maintenance all the time and I just don’t buy it. If that were true, why are Toyotas and Hondas more reliable? Are their owners better at maintenance? I doubt it.

      • 0 avatar
        arun

        Hmm..Interesting that you mentioned all your failed parts were non maintenance related. I am going to conclude that your religious maintenance prevented things like transmission breakdown and such.
        I really do wonder as to how VW can get everything look so good when new and then everything goes down the crapper 3-4 yrs down the line. I really hope my VW CC stays put for more than 4 yrs – the only really ‘damage’ I might have done is using the launch control feature twice when I bought it!

      • 0 avatar
        Ubermensch

        Correct. Transmission did not fail before I got rid of it, and my religious oil changes prevented any sludge issues. I even intended on replacing the ridiculous “lifetime” transmission fluid as preventative maintenance but got rid of it before that point. It just nickel and dimed me to death with all of the little electrical and suspension issues. And by nickel and dime, I mean several hundred dollars at a time. I was able to avoid a lot of costs by doing a lot of the work myself but the hassle was just not worth it as it was our only car.

      • 0 avatar
        Frownsworth

        Same experience here. All my maintenance was done at the dealer where they pride themselves on service. Still, see my previous experiences with a 2006 Golf TDI posted here:

        http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/02/piston-slap-diesel-love-or-the-fuel-of-the-devil/

        Then, after that, I’ve had a transmission fluid leak, and while repairing, the techs found several seized bolts in the transmission housing which delayed the repair by 1 day. This was the last item covered under warranty. I dare to think what happens now…

    • 0 avatar
      hakata

      Ditto with an 01 Passat. Unglued upholstery, broken glove box handle, multiple control arm and ball joint replacements, O2 sensor failure, oil leaks, bad thermostat, and rain pouring into exposed electrical harnesses did not dissuade me from performing recommended oil changes, brake fluid flushes, those bs 40k/60k services where they lube the door hinges for $400, and a timing belt change. I guess I should have replaced the “lifetime” manual transmission fluid before the scraping/grinding started. Just drained it and it’s full of metal. Currently counting down to transmission failure with 73k on the clock. But seriously, good luck with the CC.

    • 0 avatar
      vento97

      >Somehow I think this makes a big difference. I am wondering if the converse is also true – if not maintained diligently enough, will they go to the crapper far quicker than say a Toyonda?

      Based on my 30+ years of owning and maintaining VWs, I would say that due to the complexity, you have to be a little more diligent about maintaining VWs than your average Toyonda. But a properly maintained VW will last as long (and in my case, much longer) than the average Toyonda. Here are the vehicles that I’ve owned over the years:

      1975 VW Scirocco – (my first automobile) Least reliable initially, but once I fixed the bugs (replaced Zenith carburetor with 2-barrel Weber downdraft, and replaced points ignition with an electronic ignition) – I got 250,000 miles out of the car until it was hit by a tractor trailer.

      1977 Datsun 280z (the first generation REAL Z-Car) – Drove that for 200,000 miles until the transmission started to eat me out of house and home. Traded it for a:

      1987 VW Golf GT (Very reliable) – Had that car for 16 years and 624,000 miles until I hit a deer head on – otherwise I would still be driving it. Replaced by:

      1997 Jetta – Current daily driver @ 350,000 miles.

      2003 Wolfsburg Jetta 1.8T (auto trans) – Currently @ 192,000 miles. Regular oil changes @ 5,000 mile intervals with REAL Synthetic oil meeting the VW 502.00 spec – Castrol Syntec 0w30 European Formula; Initial timing belt service done @ 70,000 miles – including a switch from using the plastic factory water pump to the aftermarket metal water pump. Timing belt services done @ 80,000 mile intervals thereafter; Replaced troublesome factory ignition coils with the extremely reliable Hitachi aftermarket coils @ 85,000 miles – ignition coils haven’t been an issue since; Transmission service done every 60,000 miles because I wasn’t gullible enough to fall for the dealers’ claim of lifetime transmission fluid – NOTE: Lifetime fluids DO NOT EXIST!!!

      2003 Passat 1.8T (Wife’s car) currently at 145,000 miles. Oil changes at same intervals as my 2003 Wolfsburg Jetta 1.8T. Same thing with the transmission service, timing belt service and ignition coils. One more thing – If higher-mileage Passat 1.8T owners are currently experiencing increased oil consumption – Don’t believe the dealer’s claim that it is within factory specs. The most likely culprit is a clogged positive-crankcase ventilation (PCV) system which causes internal engine oil pressures to increase, and oil eventually finds its way out through various seals. This is especially common on those earlier 1.8T Passats whose dealership oil changes consisted of 5w-30 dino oil before the VW 502.00 (Synthetic) oil specification came out. The synthetic oil used afterwards gradually cleaned out the gunk – which became the buildup that eventually clogged the PCV system. Once I had the PCV system cleaned out by a private mechanic who specializes in VWs, the oil consumption is no longer an issue – especially at 145,000 miles (which results in having an extremely happy wife…;))

      1987 Chevy pickup (V-6, 3-speed manual transmission). My current workhorse purchased from my Dad a couple of years ago (who bought it brand new). Well-maintained like my other cars, and reliable (doesn’t burn a drop of oil). Most mechanics that I’ve spoken to tell me that with the proper maintenance, the Vortec V-6 in that truck will easily last 400,000 miles.

      My point – 9 times out of 10, a vehicle will be about as reliable as the owner who maintains it.

      • 0 avatar
        arun

        Wow! That is some serious VW pride there! I want to be like that eventually – cos my CC is a beautiful car any which you look at it. Gas mileage, looks, power when needed (thanks to the torque curve), ride, handling. The only downside is probably the rear bucket seats but being a two member family currently, that isn’t a problem right now

        Anywho, want I want to know is this – I am a noob when it comes to cars (this is my first car EVER) so where does a noob like me get to know that certain things need to be done irrespective of what the dealer says (like timing belt, transmission fluid, ignition coils etc)?
        Do you just find a trustworthy VW technician and take him at his word OR do you have to search your way through various VW forums and figure things out on your own ? I don’t mind either route as I have found one of the former (German Car Depot in S. Florida for anyone else in that area) and I am good at the latter but I would like some pointers in the right direction
        I mean I am at 10,000 miles and I already did a fluid and oil change at 5000 miles despite it not being covered by the dealer (currently, VW covers regular maintenance for 3yrs/ 30,000 miles @ 10,000 mile intervals)
        I love my CC and if it doesn’t nickel and dime like it did to a previous poster, I plan to keep this car in shape for a very long time.

      • 0 avatar
        joeaverage

        arun – beware the dealers. You can get OEM parts at steep discounts online. I’d also become a regular on the VW CC Enthusiast forums around the ‘net. I’ve learned alot in those places. Some of the guys are all about wheels and mufflers but some of the guys are all about making the car last.

        ’78 VW Westfalia – 198K miles (down for Corvair implant and restoration)
        ’97 VW Cabrio (175K miles, getting new interior as I have time)
        ’65 Beetle (Heinz-57 with ’69 chassis/suspension, 2.0L ~90 HP engine vs the original ~40 HP)
        ’99 CR-V EX AWD – 224K miles (probably a joint product with Honda+Timex)

  • avatar
    bryanska

    I recently loaned out my Miata to a friend for the weekend. He gave me his 2003 MkIV GTI VR6 with 90k miles to borrow. I had always wanted to drive one.

    I drove the GTI home, and promptly parked it until he picked it up three days later. It was maintained to the hilt, yet totally clapped out. The shifter had so much play you didn’t need the clutch. The bushings were creaky and soft. The shocks were hard as bowling balls. Most of the interior trim was absolutely cashed out. The soft-touch paint was peeling everywhere like a sunburn. The leather was plain gross. The sunroof didn’t work. The cupholders didn’t pop out. The seat adjuster was stuck. On the whole, the GTI felt as worn out as a GM car with twice the age.

    Instead of driving the GTI that weekend, I drove my 75k-mile 2007 Honda Fit and was again thankful I sold my wife’s 2002 Golf 2.0. The Honda had none of the GTI’s issues. Instead, the suspension was firm and silent, everything worked, and with a bit of rubbing the interior would look like Day One.

    He’s a Volkwagen nut, however, and convinced his girlfriend to buy a 2010 Jetta TDI. He’s also the worst Apple fanboy stereotype, so maybe there’s some elitist thing going on.

    • 0 avatar
      vento97

      > He’s a Volkwagen nut, however,

      Volkswagen nut != reliable owner. As a matter of fact, the car might have appeared maintained to the hilt, but it wasn’t. He obviously concentrated on the appearance of the car instead of properly maintaining the “nuts and bolts” of the car. And he more than likely beat the hell out of the car with the stiffer shocks and springs that he installed, but he more than likely didn’t upgrade the bushings or motor mounts. The play in the shifter was a result of your friend racing the car and forcing his shifts into each gear instead of regular gearshifting and letting the transmission synchronizers do their job.

      I wouldn’t let your friend anywhere near your automobiles – because he will more than likely beat the hell out of them…

      If I owned that 2003 MkIV VR6 (especially since this is the sweet-sounding 200 hp 24-valve version instead of the 172 hp 12-valve version), you would definitely have a much different opinion after borrowing it…

      Like I’ve said before – Nine times out of ten, a car is as reliable as the person who owns it.

  • avatar

    I think the new Jetta looks like a Kia Optima without the Ninja Turtle sneer.

  • avatar
    compuccesory

    VW North America’s boss was on Autoline After Hours recently. According to him, one big difference between European and American opinions on VW is that European consumers are simply ignorant. Europeans don’t have access to the same wealth of information on car reliability, like Consumer Reports and whatnot, as Americans do. The rate of car ownership in most European countries is much lower than America, so generally the level of car knowledge is also lower. I know this is counter to all the terrible BMW marketing that you grew up on, deal with it. So it’s no surprise that they keep buying shoddily built VW junk year after year. Note that Japanese cars also have good reputations for reliability in Europe too.

    If you really want to look at the relative market share of Japanese cars in Europe Vs North America, just look at the historical exchange rates between Yen/dollar and Yen/Euro/Dmark/Pound. North America has specifically been on Japan inc.’s “hit list” more so than Europe.

    • 0 avatar
      svenmeier

      I live in Europe (I am European) and I also happen to drive a 2005 Volkswagen Golf TDI with a little over 320,000 km on its back. The car has been flawless.

      Europeans are concerned about reliability like anybody else and have access to reliability data. People have good experiences with certain brands and come back for more. I know that in the US European cars have a bad reputation, but here in Europe they don’t. Students buy Fiat Puntos and Renault Meganes because they’re cheap, reliable and easy to fix and maintain for example. VWs have become more expensive in recent years, but the Polo and Golf are still popular with students and young professionals.

      Don’t forget that Europe has very serious maintenance laws regarding automobiles. People actually take care of their cars and ensure that they’re always in good condition. A car in poor condition will fail the yearly/two-year auto inspections and won’t be allowed on the roads.

      • 0 avatar
        vento97

        > Don’t forget that Europe has very serious maintenance laws regarding automobiles.

        Very good point svenmeier! Here in the U.S., maintenance laws vary state-by-state – and believe me, there are plenty of states with maintenance laws that are watered-down practically to the point of being non-existent.

    • 0 avatar
      vento97

      > According to him, one big difference between European and American opinions on VW is that European consumers are simply ignorant.

      You REALLY need to get out of the country more often instead of relying on Autoline After Hours and other associated medium. If you’ve spent any time in Europe (I was stationed at the now defunct Rhein-Main Airbase), you will discover that Europeans are quite knowledgeable when it comes to vehicles.

      In my experience between driving there and here (U.S.), it is quite obvious that with the exception of a handful of auto enthusiasts, auto mechanics, professional drivers, etc. (relative to the total U.S. driving population) – if the piss-poor driving habits that I’ve observed in my 40+ years of driving is any indication, U.S. drivers are FAR MORE ignorant than our European counterparts.

      • 0 avatar
        joeaverage

        Vento97 is absolutely correct. I was stationed in Naples, Italy for three years. In southern Italy you had the same mix of people there as we have here – consumers and enthusiasts. At the time I lived there Naples had zero vehicle inspections like my state here in the USA so there were some real junk roaming the local roads – there was significant poverty there. There were also some pragmatic people who just didn’t see the point of investing thousands of dollars in a car that might get stolen or banged up parked in the city.

        However you can’t run junk at 100 mph on the autostrada nor could a person go very far north out of the region (Campagnia) without the police getting pretty strict about a wheeled disaster from Naples. I got pulled over once in a ratty exterior VW Rabbit convertible I had just purchased while I was way up north and was told to get back to Naples or face impounding of my car. He was a very angry fellow.

        The solution that some people had was a very, very cheap Fiat or other brand for daily duty around town. These cars were tough survivors with all sorts of scrapes to prove it. They had tiny engines too and were cheap to insure and fuel. In a basement somewhere would be parked touring sedan or wagon that was pristine.

        The difference between owning a car here and there was the cost to repair one. Here the shops get between $50 and $75 per dollars. Despite being a VW enthusiast (I own three) I would resist using a VW dealer. The ones I’ve dealt with seem to be quite expensive. In Italy a person would find a neighborhood mechanic that was reliable, experienced and affordable. I mean $35 carb cleanings and adjustment. I mean $10 per tire to mount and balance them. I mean a muffler shop that would fix something for $20. My mechanic friend replaced my busted CV joint with a used axle for 50,000 lire which was about $38 back then.

        Here in the USA so many minor repairs are far overpriced.

        If your cost to maintain whatever you drive is expensive, give an independent shop a try. Ask around first, don’t just go into a random shop and trust that they’ll be the best and the most honest.

  • avatar
    boxelder

    The date at the end of the video is wrong. Did we ever find out who filmed this and released it?

  • avatar
    amac

    I’m happy to sacrifice a little reliability to get a car that doesn’t feel like an appliance. People who are passionate about driving aren’t interested in Elantras.

  • avatar
    eldard

    VW also admitted to studying the Prius since they didn’t know how to make hybrids at that time. And because they’re man enough to do that (I want to see the Birch 3 try to be less arrogant), they became the 2nd largest industrial corporation in the world after Toyota.


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