By on March 5, 2011

When Toyota became the world’s largest auto manufacturer in 2008, they reluctantly accepted the title. Toyota knew that the title was not won by Toyota’s  strength, but by GM’s weakness. Toyota also was highly aware that the guy in front is everybody’s  target. Their worst fears became reality sooner than they thought.  Now, in an unusual departure from the usual Wolfsburg hubris, Volkswagen also realizes that too much success can make punch-drunk and lead to stupid or deadly mistakes.

“Success is provoking. It doesn’t automatically create friends. Size is no guarantee for sustainable success,” warns Volkswagen CEO in a confidential memo to top management. Automobilwoche [sub] obtained a copy. It’s not that Volkswagen is backpedaling from its strategy to unseat Toyota. They just need to do the unseating more carefully, says Winterkorn.

“When you are big, each of your weaknesses, each of your mistakes are perceived as far greater than when you are small,” says the missive from the Wolfsburg Hochhaus. “The public loves underdogs. Bottom line: We need to remain vigilant. We cannot risk mistakes in our actions and communications with the public.”

Volkswagen’s real leader, Ferdinand Piech, put it into fewer words: “In the envy of others lies no danger.  The danger lies in Volkswagen making mistakes.”  As noted above, we’ve heard similar words before.

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49 Comments on “Volkswagen: We Have Met The Enemy And He Is Us...”


  • avatar
    Educator(of teachers)Dan

    Wow a rare moment of clarity in Wolfsburg.  Let’s see if it has any lasting impact, in my mind VW has been a synonym for hubris for as long as I can remember. 

  • avatar

    So true, and I will be very curious to see how this plays out. VWs strategy seems to be cheap but not better (by better I mean more reliable), but we shall see. It would be very bad if, down the road, all of those Jettas they sold are found to be giant piles. It doesn’t matter how cheap they are, nobody is going to but them then.

  • avatar
    MarcKyle64

    VW died for me on the day the last Type 1 Beetle was made.  Their offerings since the Fox and gen 2 Golf have left me cold. I never put them on my look list when I car shop.

  • avatar
    mike978

    Wow, I am always surprised by the strength of the anti-VW posters. Hubris? VW is successful by any measure – volume, profit, engineering or cult cars. VW engineered the DSG auto gearbox, beating BMW to that and others now copy with the dual clutch system, the 2.0Turbo I-4 is a great engine, the idea of super and turbo charging small capacity engines (1.4TSi).
    MarcKyle I am sorry of the MKV GTi left you cold, your loss. I am sorry of some of the other great cars they have made are not on your list.
    Don`t get me wrong they make mistakes like anyone but surely they are doing more right than wrong if they grow sales, profits and engineering prowess on a consistent basis . Yet a company like Ford, which everyone seems to love (and I like there European offerings) have issues with little China exposure, no clear strategy for Lincoln and not being consistently profitably so far. VW has none of those issues.
     
    yeah they can be arrogant – maybe some of it (some of it I repeat) is actually warranted by their consistent success.

  • avatar
    mike978

    Wow, I am always surprised by the anti-VW posters. VW has consistently grown volume, profits and displayed some great engineering skill (DSG dual clutch gearbox now copied, 2.0T and 1.4TSi engines)
    Sure they can be arrogant but some of that is warranted by their consistent success. They have a clear strategy for their brands (not like Acura or Lincoln), they have the right China exposure (not like Ford). They sell well in all continents (not like Toyota or Honda in Europe).

    • 0 avatar

      Its not about sales, or technology. Its about the product as whole. That great DSG? Brilliant, but owners are having huge difficulties with it completely failing after limited mileage (someone on the boards mentioned around 40,000 kms I think). And that was on a 2009 vehicle I think. For the people who had them fail outside of warranty, some were quoted $7,000 for a replacement. That 2.0T engine is nice too, but has huge issues with the camshaft, eats oil (again, after short periods of time) and has other sundry and expensive issues. You see how this is a problem?
      You speak of a clear plan? I don’t see it. They want to be cheap so people will buy them, yet they offer unreliable technology that is great, but unbelievably expensive for the average person to repair. They have paid absolutely no attention (or little) to their quality rep, and instead have taken the simplest route they could find…cheap and big (both in size and numbers). That is a pretty lacking and short-sighted strategy. Not only are they missing out on people like me, who loved our past VWs but won’t touch them over quality concerns, they are missing out on all the people who look up their rep on CR and find the Hondas, Mazdas, Toyotas, Fords, and Hyundais of the world still have them beat (BMW has them beat for god sakes).
      I’m more worried and frustrated with VW than I am with either Lincoln or Acura. Telling me you are going to sell me more unreliable crap at a lower price does not a plan make.

    • 0 avatar
      Zackman

      That’s my concern as well. From everything I hear on TTAC, whether from commentors or columnists, plus what I see on TrueDelta and in CR, if their cars are truly that problematic, why do they continue to sell so well? Just from the info I read makes me think thrice about considering one. I really like the Jetta and Eos, too.

    • 0 avatar
      JKC

      Consider two anecdotes, Mike:
      1) About seven years ago, I watched a young couple at a local dealership being told that the diagnostic bill for their blown fuse in a Jetta was $600 for “diagnostics” because “fuses just don’t burn out.”
      2) Two years later, listening to a service writer at a different dealership tell me that a $5000 replacement rear differential was a “normal wear item.”
      You could argue, I suppose, that those are examples of a bad dealership network and not the fault of the manufacturer, but my own experience has made the tales of early DSG gearbox failures (as well as other maladies) entirely believable.

    • 0 avatar
      dadude53

      2) Two years later, listening to a service writer at a different dealership tell me that a $5000 replacement rear differential was a “normal wear item.”

      Rear diff on a VW? Which AWD model was that?

    • 0 avatar
      Educator(of teachers)Dan

      Psssssssssssst… 4motion.

    • 0 avatar
      EAM3

      As the ex-owner of a Corrado bought brand new and driven for 125K miles I can assure you that the VW dealer experience is the worst I’ve ever had the misfortune of experiencing!  The car had issues, like most early 90s VWs, but the worst was a dealer service department that could not figure out how to fix it (and yes, I tried 3 different dealers).  I  still like VWs  but I haven’t seriously considered one because I still hear horror stories from current VW owners.  I guess things have not changed in that department.

    • 0 avatar
      JKC

      @dadude: it was a Passat 4Motion GLX. Absolute joy to drive, a beast in the snow, and the biggest money pit I’ve ever owned. And I’ve owned two Saabs.

    • 0 avatar

      @Echid: PREACH it, baby!!!
      VW’s past reliability met the edge of the cliff in +/-1988 when they first put a 16v head on an engine [for the US].
       
      -Which then fell off that cliff in 1993. It’s been one giant BASE-jump [with few exceptions] ever since.
       

      Otherwise: Piech honest, cautious, realistic; even ~slightly humble? -WTF are they smoking up in that joint?
       
      VW Reliability + Alfa Reliability …-> I see no problem there.
      Go for it, Ferd’.

    • 0 avatar

      “They sell well in all continents (not like Toyota or Honda in Europe).”
       
      I don’t know if VW’s North American performance has ever been something to get excited about.

    • 0 avatar
      Kevin Jaeger

      It is always amusing to see the TTAC comments on every mention of VW.  It’s as if they have no concept that VW is currently the most financially successful auto company in the world, currently selling more than 7 million cars per year.
       
      On the stock market VW currently has a value of about $340B, more than the combined value of GM ($48B), Ford ($51B), Honda ($39B), Nissan ($42B), Mazda ($46B), and Daimler ($71B).
      But what is the significance of global success and profitability when some TTAC commenter heard that his cousin Bubba had a problem with his window regulator on a MKIII Jetta in the 1990s?

    • 0 avatar

      Kevin, don’t confuse quantity sold with quality. Yes, although the two can be indicative of each other, they can also, as was the case for many years with Chrysler, GM and Ford, have no relationship.
      The reality is this: VW’s may be reliable, or they may not. If I buy a Honda stuff will probably go wrong at some point, but it won’t be a massively expensive repair, it’ll be little things. Its okay to have things go wrong, but its the fact that VW can’t get the big stuff right that is concerning. I know of only two engines that VW makes that I would trust. That’s pathetic.

    • 0 avatar
      vbofw

      On the stock market VW currently has a value of about $340B, more than the combined value of GM ($48B), Ford ($51B), Honda ($39B), Nissan ($42B), Mazda ($46B), and Daimler ($71B).

      Kevin Jaeger I’m going to go ahead and call BS on this one.  You’re saying the largest auto maker in the world, Toyota, has a market value of 1/10th the 2nd/3rd largest in VW?  I have no numbers to prove it but common sense says this is way wrong.

    • 0 avatar
      colin42

      According to google Finance

      Volkswagen $69.78 Bn
      Toyota $141 Bn

    • 0 avatar
      Signal11

      I think what’s happened here is that Kevin’s confused VW’s fluke one-day market cap (~$340 bn) from two and a half years ago (the Porsche incident) with VW’s market value today.

  • avatar
    jonnyguitar

    “Size is no guarantee for sustainable success”

    Does this axiom apply to Jack Baruth?

  • avatar
    Philosophil

    It’s good to see that at least some people at VW are aware of the dangers of making high sales a priority. I guess my only question at this point would be whether the kind of ‘mistakes’ being referred to are mistakes in quality of production or mistakes in public perception. I hope it’s the former and not merely the latter (though of course the two are sometimes related).
     
    I would still consider putting the Golf on my short list for my next vehicle purchase. It’s well built, safe for its size, has good visibility, and seems to have been holding up fairly well as far as general reliability goes.

  • avatar
    Educator(of teachers)Dan

    I guess my only question at this point would be whether the kind of ‘mistakes’ being referred to are mistakes in quality of production or mistakes in public perception.
     
    The problem is (rolls eyes) CLEARLY a “perception gap.”  Perhaps they can hire Bob Lutz in a consultants role to help them with that.

    • 0 avatar
      Zackman

      “Perhaps they can hire Bob Lutz in a consultant’s role to help them with that.” I sure hope you kept that great photo of Lutz in that Corvette from a couple of weeks ago!

  • avatar
    mike978

    JKC – lets not deal in anecdotes because I had a Golf MkIV and a Seat Ibiza (aka VW Polo) and both had no mechanical issues over 8 years of life.
     
    Regarding reliability – truedelta shows they are average (certainly form 2006 onwards) and as Michael K is the first to say virtually all cars are reliable now and the differences are usually a decimal of one visit per year – so not that great a difference. If VW’s were as reliable as some on here state then why do they continue to sell. Why are they in say the UK the one of the most prized cars with fantastic resale values? Are people stupid?
     
    Regarding cheap – I don`t think the Passat CC, Tiguan, Golf, Touraeg are cheap. Yes the new Jetta and arguably the Passat are cheap but VW offers cheap cars for those Americans that are the typical Camry owners and still offer Euro cars for those who want them (Jetta Sportswagen TDi is a great example of that).
     

    • 0 avatar
      Signal11

      If not anecdotes, what else is there to talk about in a car forum?  While the plural of anecdotes may not be data, a multiplicity of anecdotes is something close to public opinion.

    • 0 avatar
      JKC

      Mike, I don’t think people are stupid for buying VW’s. I wouldn’t mind having a TDi Sportwagon myself. But, at least here in the States, they are a) damned expensive to maintain and b) sold by a dealer network with larceny in their souls.

    • 0 avatar
      charly

      Like Chevrolet in America, everybody has a VW so all mechanics know how to repair them which makes repairs cheap. There is also the issue that VW has on average less “gadgets” than other comparable cars so for example rear electric windows can’t break if your Golf doesn’t have them

  • avatar
    mike978

    Signal – I agree anecdotes should be used on a forum like this but I would not recommend saying that a multitude (define that) is public opinion., There are 12 million car/truck purchases a year in a population of 300 million – that is a hell of a multitude! Also if we are looking at public opinion then public opinion in Europe (which has generally higher standards of a car) is that VW is pretty damn good with its 20% market share – nearly twice the second place company. Also China has obviously decided the VW isn`t half bad either.
     
    I have heard the VW dealers are crap – never experienced. Hopefully VW will sort that out since they are methodically (as befits the Germans) going through the reasons (as they see it) for not doing better in the US – a) no US manufacturing plant, b) base price of car – both of these have been fixed. So that leaves reliability (or perception) and dealers. Lets see what they do next.

    • 0 avatar
      George B

      Mike, Europe doesn’t have higher standards for cars.  They have different standards.  The US is a majority suburban country where it’s an enormous disruption every time someone has to leave their car at a repair shop.  Driving in the suburbs involves lots of stopping for lights and acceleration from a dead stop.  Most cars have automatic transmissions.  Hatchbacks just look poorly proportioned like a dwarf.  My theory is that Volkswagen has competency in building cars for European tastes, but a manual transmission diesel engine medium price Golf just isn’t mainstream for the US.  They assume Germans must be right and the customer is just stupid.  In contrast, Toyota builds the Camry sedan, Sienna minivan, and Tundra pickup specifically for US customers independent of Japanese tastes.  Volkswagen appears now to be making cars for a negative stereotype of Americans, bigger cheap cars for fat stupid people, instead of studying VW’s relative strengths and weaknesses.  VW gives us more interior room, but takes away the nice interior plastic and the 2.0 TSI engine.

    • 0 avatar
      gslippy

      I found the VW dealer experience to be quite pleasant when I had my 02 Passat, but unfortunately, I experienced it about 12 times in 3 miserable years of ownership.

      My car died at 4 months (bad sensor), then had various electrical problems throughout its life, among other issues (terrible E-throttle response, unreliable fuel gauge, brake problems, A/C failure).  Finally, its 30-valve V6 engine finally began burning a quart of oil every 1000 miles with only 30k on it, and that was the last straw.  With the warranty to expire, I knew I couldn’t afford to keep it any longer.

      I traded it for a new 05 Scion xB, a car that’s had a total of 1 unplanned dealer visit in 6 years of ownership.

      I have to agree with Signal11 – a multitude of anecdotes sum into public opinion.  Most of us don’t have the opportunity to sample very many cars in a lifetime, so we go with our own experience, plus what we read about. It will be a very long time until I buy another VW.

    • 0 avatar
      JKC

      @gslippy: That sounds too much like my experience with my Passat, which was an ’03 I bought used. There is nothing worse than a VW with electrical gremlins. Or, in my case, a rear diff that fails at 83000 miles. I had a good independent mechanic, but in the end it was just too much.
       
      In the end, that car was like dating a beautiful, sexy woman with untreated bipolar disorder. Lots of fun at times, but very, very expensive and trying…

    • 0 avatar
      Signal11

      I would say that Europe has a different standard of cars than the US and I wouldn’t say that definition is necessarily higher.  Having lived being shuttled between the states, Europe and east Asia since I was a kid and maintaining that sort of life now, what works for the US doesn’t necessarily work for the EU and vice versa.
       
      Popularity itself is not a measure of general public opinion towards the consumer object.  The best sold burger in America is a the Bic Mac but I don’t think you’d get a lot of folk to tell you that it’s also the best burger sold in America, either.
       
      Maybe the ‘public opinion’ is too broad but multiple anecdotes from multiple owners that cut across all different genres car forums have left me with the impression that I do not want to own a VW in the states, an impression that’s confirmed first hand by my VW driving cousin (“You’re right, I should have bought a Lexus.)

    • 0 avatar
      vbofw

      Agreed that the difference between best and worst cars these days are a decimal point.  For example car A will be a lemon 1.5 out of 100… while car B is 1.3 out of 100.  That may be oversimplifying, but it is the right way to think about modern auto reliability. The odds are you’re going to be in the other 98%.

      To add my ‘anecdote’, I’m driving a 2002 Jetta turbo, or from the supposed worst years with 170k and the only non-preventative repairs in 10 years being a $100 sensor and a water pump.  Lucky I suppose, but the car feels like it’s just breaking-in.  Agreed on the dealer network – of the 5 in town I only like 1.

  • avatar
    Cabriolet

    I have to agree with MICKY978 a lot on VW haters. And also a lot of misinformation. When buying my last VW Jetta i test drove the DSG and it was a nice transmission. I purchased my new car with a 6 speed manual transmission. My car will be 2 years old this July and other then oil changes the car is perfect. Their have been troubles with the DSG and VW admitted it. Since a year ago all DSG transmissions carry a guarantee of 100,000 miles. Have never heard Honda admitting they build a poor transmission or better yet Subaru accepting a claim for a bad head gasket on their 2.5 engine. And speaking of head gaskets Honda has their own problems with some of their engines leaking. Love how everyone brings this up on these forums. Have owned many Asian cars and some of them were great and some of them were POS. Everyone to their own poison, Will take mine European.

  • avatar
    Dimwit

    Commonality in America is poor dealer service. It has killed dozens of marques and will continue if the mother corp doesn’t get its act together.

    I’ve had two VW’s, both excellent, both diesels and would buy again without hesitation. My dealership experience has been hit or miss and with the misses I never go back, but I’ve also has excellent independent mechanics as well. Once the warranty is up, hell, even before use them to verify the dealership’s staff as well. Where the idea came from that the dealership is the be all and end all for car maintenance I’ll never know.

  • avatar
    kurtamaxxguy

    Well presently, Audi, described as a skyrocketing car maker by one prominent auto journalist and fawned on by all the others, is rated by both JD POWER and Consumers Reports as near the bottom of the reliability heap __and__ the dealer buying experience.
    Audi’s said nothing about the former, but that they are going to try to improve the dealership experience.
    Audis ride and handle well, but all I’ve talked to declare them a money pit once the warranty is up. Not reassuring, even when a brand new dealer’s 2 miles from my house.

    • 0 avatar
      gslippy

      Audis have become the prestige car to own, but their dirty little secret is the unrelenting repair costs.  Some owners justify it by telling themselves that’s the price of keeping such a wonderful car on the road.

    • 0 avatar
      hreardon

      I will agree that pre-2006 Audis tended toward being expensive to maintain outside of the warranty period, but I would also argue that they have improved substantially post-2006.
      The thing that many here are forgetting is that many “prestige buyers” only keep their cars 3 – 4 years, so as long as the ownership experience during that period doesn’t cost them much out of pocket, they’re happy.  Even if there are bugs that require a visit to the service department, so long as it doesn’t cost the owner anything and the service experience is pleasant, most owners will keep smiling.

    • 0 avatar
      kurtamaxxguy

      Hreardon’s nailed it – would Audi care about long term reliability if __their__ customers only keep their cars 4 years?
      BMW seems to feel their cars should last a little longer, given they offer true factory-backed extended warranties (Audi’s extended warranty’s managed by a third party insurance company).

    • 0 avatar
      hreardon

      Building a car that appeals to the prestige buyer requires a lot more flash and dash – and that means in the world in which a manufacturer must balance price versus features, they cannot give the buyer everything (and by everything I mean Toyota reliability and, say, BMW performance and gadgetry).
      The typical Toyota buyer will keep their car 7-10 years whereas the typical BMW, Merc and Audi buyer will want something newer to keep up with the Joneses after 3 – 4 years.  As far as they’re concerned, the only important buyer is the first owner, and if the majority of their customer base only cares about the car for 3 -4 years, they’re not going to build in the robustness to last 7 – 10 years.
      Fact is, reliability can be achieved in two different ways: one is simplicity, the second is in ruggedness.  Simplicity works in a Honda or Toyota, where the owners are expecting it to be functional and reliable.  Ruggedness requires additional cost, especially with complex systems.  An automaker cannot afford to ensure every component has the ability to last 10 years under the worst circumstances, so they make tradeoffs, or if they have complex technologies there are factors that cannot be determined until after several years of real-world use.
      I think this debate about reliability will go on forever. The reality is that Volkswagen doesn’t have to build the more reliable car on the planet, they just need to be more reliable on the aggregate than their immediate competition.  We’ve seen a marked improvement in the last 10 years, especially the last 5 years, which is a good indication that they’re taking this quality issue very seriously. Let’s hope the trends continue in the positive direction.

    • 0 avatar

      “Simplicity works in a Honda or Toyota, where the owners are expecting it to be functional and reliable.”
      Eh, not really. Japanese cars are just as complex, if not more so. Subura’s AWD managed to be reliable, unlike the Passat’s, and both are complex. Acura, Subaru, Infiniti, and Lexus all have increasingly complex suspension components, interior electronics etc. that work just fine for years and years. VWs electronic issues were (are?) started in the 2 point-slow engine, which is naturally aspirated and otherwise fairly basic. Honda mastered VTEC ages ago, which is definitely more sophisticated and has been reliable for a very long time.
      I think that, just because the majority of Japanese cars you see are fairly simple, and the majority of German cars have more goodies, does not make one manufacturer more or less capable overall. Compare model to model, and you’ll see that the Asians have managed better with complexity.

  • avatar

    In the case of Brazil, I guess this memo came 20 years to late. From a market share of almost 70% or more in the late 60s, to a market share near 50% well into the 80s, they’ve slipped and are now in 2nd place thanks to GM’s stupidity (see my article on GM of yesterday) with around 20%. I’m pretty sue that this year they’ll fall another 2 or 3 points after Fiat launches new Palio and Siena – if Fiat doesn’t get overly ambitious (greedy) on pricing. Again, if GM weren’t so thick-headed, VW would be fighting for 3rd.

    Let’s see if word of this memo reach Brazil.

    FWIW, VW’s launches in Brazil have been horid. The new Gol suffered severe engine problems (like in engine dying for lack of oil), windshields that cracked on their own, Fox’s seats that decepated customers fingers. Comparing to that Fiat most recent launches mishaps have been benign. On Punto, for example, falling side mirror glass or glove compartment that didn’t close. So perceprions , perceptions…

    Yes VW go on blaming perceptions and watch yourself withering day by day in Brazil

  • avatar
    JustPassinThru

    Excellent title for the piece, Herr Schmitt.  In my lifetime, Volks went from a company selling inexpensive, reliable vehicles to one selling overpriced, gee-whiz reliable vehicles to one selling overpriced, gee-whiz GARBAGE…and for 30 years, sold and serviced by people with the ethics of grave robbers.
     
    That last is the deal-buster,  In the 80s, VW products were the equal in quality of anything out of Japan, with the heavy advantage of advanced engineering.  But while at Volkswagen, the customer first was a prospect, and with purchase became a petitioner at the mercy of the Company…on the Japanese side, they understood the value of a lifelong partnership.
     
    What did it for me was my experience, with my lady-friend’s Fox…and later my own Vanagon.  Two exploitative encounters; and balancing that against my elderly mother’s experience with her out-of-warranty First-Gen Toyota Camry.
     
    The Camry was out of warranty but had a catastrophic failure with the starter and flywheel.  Toyota repaired that gratis, under a hidden warranty….on a car with 70,000 miles.  For a defenseless little old lady who didn’t even ask for it.
     
    That made plain the difference in how the two companies, the two cultures, market cars.  And trust in the manufacturer, in the end, covers a lot of sins in design and lack of enthusiast potential.

    • 0 avatar
      i_godzuki

      Kevin wrote:
      “On the stock market VW currently has a value of about $340B, more than the combined value of GM ($48B), Ford ($51B), Honda ($39B), Nissan ($42B), Mazda ($46B), and Daimler ($71B).”
      Where are these numbers from? I get a market cap for VW of, er, $71 billion, compared to Honda’s  $75bn, GM’s $50 billion, Nissan’s $45bn, Ford’s $55 billion, Mazda’s $21 billion and Daimler’s $71 billion. Oh, Toyota’s market cap is $155 bln.
      Am I missing something?
       

    • 0 avatar
      mike978

      Gee – talk about using out of date anecdotes. Great that Toyota treated your Mother well 20-30 years ago with a first gen Camry. Do you think the same experience would happen today?
       
       

    • 0 avatar
      JustPassinThru

      “Gee – talk about using out of date anecdotes. Great that Toyota treated your Mother well 20-30 years ago with a first gen Camry. Do you think the same experience would happen today?”
       
      I do…but whether they would or not, that is why both companies are where they are today.  Volkswagen started out with, or a generation earlier, EARNED the goodwill they later squandered; whereas Toyota and Datsun were greeted with suspicion and worked tirelessly to cultivate respect, goodwill, loyalty.
       
      I have a rule I live by: “Hit me once, shame on you.  Hit me twice, shame on ME.”  Which is why I will be spending my transportation dollars on something not from GM or VW.
       
      Ever.

  • avatar
    Cabriolet

    Love the replies on this forum. Japanese good German bad. No one mentions the bad transmissons on Honda,s that Honda would not admit to, Honda Elements & Civics that over heat and destroy the entire heating & cooling systems. Subaru,s with leaking head gaskets that Subrau would not even hear of. Toyotas with bad transmissions on the V-6 i could go on for ever. Yes i owned Toyotas, Honda’s and Subaru’s and made up my mind over 30 years ago that i wanted a car that was a little fun to drive. The Japanese made transportion cars that were good solid units until about 10 years ago. Then the discounting started. All of their cars are being made cheaper. CR even mentioned in their latest issue that Subaru’s appear to be good only up to 100,000 miles and thats the end. And from me owening over 12 VW,s they were the cheapest cars to keep on the road. The big killer was the 1996 Toyota which was the most costly car to keep on the road. I gave that car to my son in law and after a year of use he left the car in a bad part of town and never looked back. He still holds that car against me.     

    • 0 avatar
      JKC

      That’s a bit of an oversimplification. My own experience over the past 8+ years has been VW bad, American (specifically Ford) good. Every single manufacturer out there has had problems: it’s a question of how likely a particular vehicle or marque is to bleed its owner dry. VW, alas, has a pretty bad track record in that regard these days. That bothers me a lot, as I’ve owned three Veedubs: the first two were very very good, but the last was absolutely horrid. And in that 20 year period, I’ve watched the quality of the dealership network plummet like a stone.

    • 0 avatar
      JustPassinThru

      A bad model, or a bad year’s run, I can understand.  How the support infrastructure, the factory through the dealer network, DEALS with it is another matter.
       
      It wasn’t ONLY that the Olds Diesel was a clunker, but that GM wouldn’t do right by their customers.  Ditto the THM200 fiasco, which was deliberate and exploitative.
       
      Likewise, Volks.  The contempt their people showed dissatisfied customers, which began in the Westmoreland era and continued through the 1990s…was something to behold.  As I said, I lived through it, through crooked and comtemptuous dealers in three states.
       
      VW, like others, EARNED the place they are today.  And I’ll not pretend otherwise.

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