Monday Mileage Champion: Volkswagen Wins!

Steven Lang
by Steven Lang
monday mileage champion volkswagen wins

Take a look at this piece of…

272,522 miles. No fooling. This 1996 Volkswagen Passat 5-speed sedan has traveled a distance nearly equal to 11 times the circumference of planet Earth.

It also visited the dealership well over 50 times during that time period as well. Which is just barely good enough for…

38th place.

Now granted that is number 38 out of 6,894 cars that were traded into a large dealer body for this week alone. 38th place also happens to be the highest finish for any non-TDI Volkswagen for all of 2013 thus far.

So obviously this car belongs in a museum. A Ripleys museum. Right next to the one and only Daewoo that made it to 100,000 miles.

On a more serious note, VW is soundly beating GM at this point. So long as you look at one and only one GM model, the Pontiac Grand Prix.

For this week VW managed to garner 8 trade-ins with over 180k miles while the notoriously plastic fantastic Pontiac Grand Prix managed a mere six vehicles. Of course there were 39 Grand Prixs and 178 Volkswagens in the trade-in mix this time around. But the German people’s car needed to find a victory somewhere in our quality index, and there it is.

Today’s number one and two offers the same powertrain as last week’s number one.

Two Chevy Silverados chalked up 354,646 miles and 346,192 miles respectively. That wasn’t as good as the 1999 Suburban that went 412,372 miles the prior week. But it’s good enough to be at the top of the heap.

As for the bottom, here’s how a few other brands fared for this week when it comes to reaching the over 180k mark at trade-in time.

Suzuki : 2 out of 27 (best showing so far!)

SAAB : 0 out of 41 (the usual…)

Kia : 0 out of 85 (ditto…)

Jaguar : 1 out of 37 (may require a recount.)

Audi : 2 out of 71

261 vehicles from these brands, collectively, could not beat a mere 39 Pontiac Grand Prixs for this week. Or the entire quarter for that matter. In fact the only true shocker for this April Fools Day is that if you added Volkswagen’s 8 strong and solid vehicles out of 178, those brands come in second to another notoriously poor brand…. Mitsubishi.

Which scored a surprisingly sound 14 out of 97 cars with over 180k. Including this Mirage with 281,146 miles and no announcements related to mechanical defects. If you want a hidden gem among the unpopular brands and models, try to find the one or two Mirages that weren’t sent to an early subprime grave.

In the meantime, there were 104 Toyotas with over 180k, 124 Hondas, 106 Chevys (mostly trucks), and exactly 100 Fords (same story… with a few Panther vehicles in the mix).

Cadillac continues to be another luxury charity case with only 3 vehicles with over 180k miles out of 132 for the week. While less prestigious, but far more mechanically sound Buick continues to blow away the big brother with a score of 13 out of 110.

All of you who continue to clamor me about good deals at the auctions may want to look at one place.

The Buick Century. A jaw dropping 10 of them from the 1998-2001 period were sold as True Miles Unknown due to their odometers no longer functioning. The fix for it is only $2 in parts and a half hour of labor. But I’m not telling the dealership about it.

It’s my job to know about these types of things, and their job to keep on pushing those types of cars in my direction. Unpopular. Unappealing. Uncertain histories if you don’t do your research before the day of the auction. Yet, these Centurys are usually conservatively driven and offer a great bang for the buck for the non-enthusiast.

Those looking for ‘nice’ basic transportation happen to be my primary clientele.

Well, there you have it for this week folks. The quarterly numbers are being crunched by the TTAC volunteer corps as we speak. I’ll have the results to all of you later in the week.

All the best!

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2 of 73 comments
  • Power6 Power6 on Apr 03, 2013

    Saab and Volvo owners are a fiesty lot heh. Keep fighting that reality boys.

  • Rick S Rick S on Jun 17, 2013

    My '01 Century had the same odometer failure that you mention here. After months of anguish thinking about the hit in value that the car would take upon an approaching sale, a quick google search revealed the quick and easy repair that brought the instrument cluster back to life. With horrific piston slap, the car didn't sound like it had 115k miles on it, so I knew that there would be trouble with a sale on a car that sounded like high miles and had no odometer reading to back up a low mileage car. This $20 fix (including tools) and 2 hours of inexperienced labor in my driveway eventually netted me upwards of $1500 in additional value to the car. Tempted to pick these up TMU and fix the odometer for at least some gain in value then resell.

  • Ollicat I have a Spyder. The belt will last for many years or 60,000-80,000 miles. Not really a worry.
  • Redapple2 Cadillac and racing. Boy those 2 go together dont they? What a joke. Up there with opening a coffee shop in NYC. EvilGM be clowning. Again.
  • Jbltg Rear bench seat does not match the front buckets. What's up?
  • Theflyersfan The two Louisville truck plants are still operating, but not sure for how much longer. I have a couple of friends who work at a manufacturing company in town that makes cooling systems for the trucks built here. And they are on pins and needles wondering if or when they get the call to not go back to work because there are no trucks being made. That's what drives me up the wall with these strikes. The auto workers still get a minimum amount of pay even while striking, but the massive support staff that builds components, staffs temp workers, runs the logistics, etc, ends up with nothing except the bare hope that the state's crippled unemployment system can help them keep afloat. In a city where shipping (UPS central hub and they almost went on strike on August 1) and heavy manufacturing (GE Appliance Park and the Ford plants) keeps tens of thousands of people employed, plus the support companies, any prolonged shutdown is a total disaster for the city as well. UAW members - you're not getting a 38% raise right away. That just doesn't happen. Start a little lower and end this. And then you can fight the good fight against the corner office staff who make millions for being in meetings all day.
  • Dusterdude The "fire them all" is looking a little less unreasonable the longer the union sticks to the totally ridiculous demands ( or maybe the members should fire theit leadership ! )