By on January 27, 2014

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Following the departure of Volkswagen Group of America CEO Jonathan Browning, VW of America has disclosed that another high executive will be leaving the company. According to Automotive News, Frank Trivieri, the Volkswagen brand’s executive vice president of sales since 2011 is no apparently history at the company. Trivieri, 51, leaves VW following a year in which VW’s U.S. sales declined 7% in a market that grew by 8%, amid reports of strained relationships with American dealers.

U.S. VW dealers were not happy with a revised “stair-step” bonus program that Trivieri initiated last year, which tied profits on new car sales to hitting specified sales targets.

VW informed dealers of Trivieri’s impending departure in a letter released in advance of the National Automobile Dealers Convention, which was held in New Orleans this weekend.

“Prior to our meetings at [NADA], we would like to inform you that Frank Trivieri, Executive Vice President of Sales, has elected to leave Volkswagen of America effective January 31, 2014,” VW said in the letter, signed by VW of America COO Mark McNabb. “We would like to take this opportunity to thank Frank for his passion, dedication, commitment and for the numerous contributions he has made to the Volkswagen brand over the past 2.5 years.”

Trivieri’s replacement was not immediately announced. A VW spokesperson confirmed his departure from the company but wouldn’t comment beyond saying, “He will be missed by all of us who interacted with him on a regular basis.”

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65 Comments on “VW U.S. Sales Chief Trivieri Gone After Sales Decline in a Growing Market...”


  • avatar

    The product is boring.

    Only thing VW ever had that I was even mildy interested in was the CC and it was way too small for me. The 2015 200 is going to be bigger and better.

    Alot of young suburban girls around here get the Jetta, but it looks like Hyundai is stealing those sales.

    • 0 avatar
      fredtal

      The cars are fine, they just need more trucks and SUVs that’s what Americans buy.

    • 0 avatar
      dmw

      Product is not boring. Product is inappropriate for the market. Toyota and Honda are not exciting anyone on car blogs, but they move product. In this regard, it seems dumb to sack your sales execs when all they have to work with is a couple frumpy sedans whose success depends on tripping up the Accord/Camry juggernaut by out-frumping them for a good price. Even if the cars were that awesome, instead of just pretty good, that would be a decade-long campaign fought over several updates.

      Audi is doing fine. Because Wolfsburg/Ingolstadt is pushing out good product that sells in its segments for Audi. VW gets jack.

      By the way, what’s wrong the CC’s size? Mine fits me just fine and I’m average sized. It has 36in-plus of rear leg-room. Anyway, I love the car. The feature-set is middling at best, but it looks hot, goes like stink, and the interior is lovely.

    • 0 avatar
      sawfish

      Did you say ‘ young girls ‘……?

      I have a now discontinued 2013 Jetta S with sunroof with a stick and I can assure you, the Jetta is no young girls car…. In fact its an old man’s car as in a geezer car ! Even here, I see people older than me driving one. VW lost the youth image on purpose, it was never to be and dumb, like the 70’s its a mature market again.

      No one buys it in Europe or UK and elsewhere besides old men like the Malibu here Chevrolet has tried in vain to break…

      The American car market is the most screwed up in the world, that’s why I won’t spend allot, cause I can’t get what I want….. They even stop producing standards when they’re even more advanced now than ever and 53 % or Europe drives a stick and elsewhere too, there’s room for allot more development, park feature, electric assist. The car is lighter with it too. A new Jetta 1.8 turbo weighs 3100 lbs with an auto, my Jetta is 2800 lbs with the standard and basic 2.0 slow 8v engine.

  • avatar
    Tom Szechy

    Can someone from the dealers’ side shed some light on this so-called “strained” relationships? I mean a tiered sales model seems to be reasonable.
    Now that I think of it, a manufacturer that wants to gain market share probably needs other (better) motivators for its dealers instead. But I’m not a car salesman so how could I possibly know :)

    • 0 avatar
      Jimal

      Basically dealers have been screaming for better product. The current Passat and Jetta were not the dealers’ ideas, and any fixes are always a year or two down the road.

      • 0 avatar
        hreardon

        I mentioned this elsewhere, but it bears repeating: the current Jetta and Passat are perfectly fine cars…for 2007.

        I really wonder the reason for the glacial pace at Volkswagen. I have to imagine that the finance guys are limiting investment in North America to help hold margins, but Volkswagen runs a real risk of irrelevancy if they don’t step up their game YESTERDAY.

        • 0 avatar
          30-mile fetch

          I really don’t think the Jetta and Passat are the real problem. They are driving almost all of VW’s sales growth the past 3 years. They do need to keep up on redesigns and refreshes, because the Passat sales are underperforming in that segment despite selling 3-4X what it’s predecessor did, but the jump in sales over just one generation for these cars was huge.

          It takes time to build market share. Even if the new Passat equaled the Accord in every way, it wouldn’t sell in Accord numbers right away.

          The neglect of other market segments is the problem. Middling CUVs already sell 100K sales a year, 200K for the better ones. A Polo selling at Honda Fit numbers would give another 50K.

          Then there’s the 800K crack pipe sales goal. Not gonna happen ever. But getting to 500K or 600K from their current 400K seems doable from my ignorant outsider’s perspective.

          • 0 avatar
            hreardon

            Keep in mind that the 800,000 number is all group brand sales, including Audi, Bentley, Lamborghini, Ducati and Bugatti.

            Audi should be able to add between 30,000 – 50,000 units this year and potentially crack 200,000 (if not this year then CY2015 for sure).

            If VW can hold the line at around 400,000 units and Audi adds another 200,000 that’s 600,000 plus a handful more for the boutique brands. If VW can add two competitive CUVs/SUVs and overhaul the Jetta and Passat, add volume to the MK 7 Golf – an additional 200,000 units in the next four years isn’t quite as ludicrous as it sounds at first blush.

            Of course, it requires VW executes flawlessly and moves quickly – two things they are not known to do well in the US market.

            Audi is in substantially better shape: by 2018 Audi should be able to push close to 300,000 units, considering their entire product line will be refreshed or replaced in the next 36 months, plus the addition of new models (Q3, A3 sedan, etc.).

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            Exactly. The Jetta and Passat aren’t exciting but they do sell. The problem is, those are pretty much the ball game.

            You can’t be a full line carmaker in the United States without a subcompact, a small CUV and a large people mover of some kind…and they all need to be reasonably priced.

            Meanwhile, Ford (and to a lesser extent, Kia) is siphoning off customers who would like a European-flavored car but don’t want the service related quirks and high price of a VW.

          • 0 avatar
            Marko

            @ FreedMike: “Meanwhile, Ford…is siphoning off customers who would like a European-flavored car but don’t want the service related quirks and high price of a VW.”

            I agree with the first part of the statement but not the second. The VW Jetta, Passat, and Golf aren’t that much more expensive than their Ford competition. (VW SUVs definitely are, however.) As for the “service related quirks”, TrueDelta gives the ’13 Passat a green smiley face but the ’13 Fusion a red sad face. (To be fair, the ’13 Fusion is a 100% new design, while the Passat redesign for ’12 shared a lot with existing VWs.) The Golf (can’t find Jetta) and Focus seem about on par with each other.

          • 0 avatar
            Jimal

            True. I own one of each and they’re good cars, if not a bit stodgy. The problem is the rest of the lineup. The current Beetle should never have been, at least not in its expensive form. They do need a CUV, a Polo sized car and – I will say it again and again, I don’t car what the B&B say, they are wrong – a small pickup like the Amarok.

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            We’re talking perception, Marko. The Fusion’s service issues are known (to be fair, they seem to be first-year teething problems), but if you asked the average consumer to rank the overall reliability of Ford and VW as brands, we both know who’d come out on top.

            This would go a long way to explaining why VW is losing sales in an “up” market – their primary models sell on their European character, and so do the Ford counterparts, the Fusion and Focus.

          • 0 avatar
            EEGeek

            hreardon: “Keep in mind that the 800,000 number is all group brand sales, including Audi, Bentley, Lamborghini, Ducati and Bugatti.”

            Actually, that’s not right. VW is supposed to sell 800k with Audi adding another 200k to get the VW Group to 1M units by 2018.

            http://www.motortrend.com/features/consumer/1104_volkswagen_plans_for_world_domination/ : “Still…800,000 Volkswagens here by 2018? That doesn’t count Audi, Bentley, or Lamborghini.”

            Considering that the product in the US is stale at best, they must smoke some really good stuff in Wolfsburg…

          • 0 avatar
            jhefner

            The redesigned Fusion and Focus are also a more exciting product; they look new while the Passat and Jetta look dated.

    • 0 avatar
      Pch101

      From the dealer’s standpoint, the best way to move slow inventory is for the OEM to slap more cash on the hood. The dealer doesn’t want to sacrifice its own profit for the sake of the manufacturer’s sales goals.

    • 0 avatar
      exit

      Stair step programs can really suck for the dealer if they tried for the top level and just didn’t quite hit the number. They take deals with unacceptably low profits hedging on a big payout from the manufacturer at the end of the month and quarter. Dealers who are chasing a number basically end up buying customer’s business and competing with each other to see who will lose the most money on a deal.

      With VW, this has backfired. The program has been so detrimental to dealer profits that they are now nearly completely ignoring volume based bonuses and focusing on making a decent profit per deal.

      You can never lose money and “make it up in volume”.

  • avatar
    Detroit-X

    In a recent Consumer Reports, the VW Jetta was in the top 10 of “cars the owner will not consider buying again.” Way to go VW. Deny that.

    As for the strained relations with dealers, it probably goes something like “VW squabbles with them because they aren’t selling enough cars. Or–GASP–that the huge bin of warranty parts and labor costs you want us to pay for must have been some mistake on your part.” This certainly would dovetail with the VW premise that there is no reliability problem. Silly owners.

  • avatar
    thornmark

    That’s a picture of a 51 year old?

    I guess 51 is the new 61.

    btw, he headed Cadillac and then GM Canada until 2011, so I can’t see why he’s to blame for VW’s situation.

    • 0 avatar
      mjz

      You’d age rapidly too if you had to try to increase VW sales with their current lackluster product line. Not to mention that he’s wearing one of those tacky fake pocket hankies, that are cardboard below the site line.

  • avatar
    Tom Szechy

    Funny to see this anyway, as VW group (as a whole) still seems to be doing well over here in Europe. People (not me :) generally see their products as reliable, economic and most importantly reasonable. Some of their stuff is even considered to be top-notch (Audi, Lambo, etc). If you’re employed and have a company car that comes with the job, if that car you’re provided with is a VW Passat, that’s already telling others you are “special” (makes me laugh actually). If it’s a diesel Audi A4 then you must be someone important :)

    It makes me wonder what are they doing so wrong in the US that makes them suffer this much.

    • 0 avatar
      hreardon

      Volkswagen doesn’t have the same advantages (read: benefit of the doubt) here in the US. More importantly, VW has a certain attitude that doesn’t carry over well here in the states where there are dozens of other options with far better reliability, pricing and options that cater to the US market.

      The issue can be boiled down to two key points: an historical reputation for poor quality and a broken product rollout cadence. The current Passat and Jetta would have been outstanding products – 7 years ago; The Tiguan is completely non-competitive with the CRV, RAV4, Jeeps and Escape; The Touareg is non-starter is the premium SUV segment; The CC is ancient and now getting slaughtered by the likes of the Sonata, Merc CLA, upcoming A3 sedan and 2-series; The MK 7 Golf/GTI is still several months away; The Beetle is a niche product, the list goes on.

      Again: it ain’t rocket science unless you are a Volkswagen executive trying to hammer a square peg into a round hole.

    • 0 avatar
      udman

      You know, Volkswagen’s fortunes rises and falls every 5 to 8 years here in North America. They design some brand new product (in this case, the new NA Passat and Jetta), increase sales, only to stumble on what makes the North American Market so damned infuriating for the Europeans: The fact that most Americans just want to get in their car, turn the key, and not think of performing maintenance AT ALL…

      Oil Changes? What are those… Brakes Grinding? Just keep driving… Car won’t start in cold weather? It’s the car’s fault, with the gas gauge at zero…

      The Japanese and now the Korean brands are really well adept at satisfying these types of owners, while the Germans are just baffled. And what about the American Brands? Well, from what I’ve seen lately, they are still running, very badly mind you, with absolutely no maintenance performed what-so-ever…

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        Mainly, Americans would like a compact CUV that doesn’t cost as much as a BMW.

      • 0 avatar
        Dan

        The VW apologist’s creed. It’s not the car, it’s the lazy (also, fat) American owner’s fault for not preventatively replacing the crankshaft, lifters, flywheel, AC compressor, rear defogger, coil packs, pretty much every moving part inside the front doors, radio, headliner, and all the other things VW built to last 90 days.

      • 0 avatar
        RobertRyan

        Europeans have a different mindset. When they released the Amarok it only came with a manual. VW did not think trades people needed Automatics. In the order of things the Amarok is en extremely light commercial vehicle just below this
        http://www.bryanbyrtvw.com.au/Transporter/Images/dual-cab.jpg

        Which in turn is smaller than this.
        http://pictures.topspeed.com/IMG/crop/201203/2011-volkswagen-crafter-7_600x0w.jpg

    • 0 avatar
      Pch101

      In the US, European cars are considered to be a niche, which are costly to fix and break often.

      This is particularly a problem at the lower end of the market, as many Americans place a priority on reliability. The European car may have cachet for some, but not enough to offset the downsides.

      VW has long trumpeted its German heritage in its US marketing. VW apparently doesn’t understand that this brand heritage is the very thing that keeps it from becoming a high-volume player. Only the Beetle developed a reputation for reliability, and that disappeared from the US decades ago.

      If VW is to have any hope of conquering the US, then it needs to copy Hyundai’s strategy (compete on both quality and price). If VW wants to keep doing what it’s doing, then it should accept that 4-5% market share is about the best that it can expect to have.

      • 0 avatar
        Big Al from Oz

        @Pch101
        European cars a niche in the US market??

        Maybe Euro supercars are, but by global standards the US probably buys to most Euro supercars, so it wouldn’t be a niche for them either.

        Logic?

        • 0 avatar
          George B

          I think what Pch101 means is that European cars are not in the top tier by volume for the segments where they compete and they ignore some high volume segments. The Ford Fusion/Mondeo is the most successful European design on the hometown strength of the Ford brand. The GM Epsilon II Buick Regal/Opel Insignia, Chevrolet Malibu, etc. isn’t causing Toyota, Honda, or Nissan any heartburn. The Volkswagen Jetta has been relatively successful over time, but it’s not the mainstream choice. The Volkswagen Passat is a pretty good car in a market segment full of good cars with better reputations.

          One way Volkswagen could buy their way into the US market would be to offer a longer warranty like Hyundai did. That, more than cash on the hood, would cause more consumers to take a chance on a Passat or a Jetta.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            The German branding of luxury cars in the US is second to none. Mercedes and BMW set the benchmarks.

            The Europeans also lead with exotic and sports cars.

            Where they fail is with the high volume mainstream. The Japanese, Americans and Koreans all have them beat in those segments. The upper ends of the market are much different from the bottom and the middle.

  • avatar
    hreardon

    VW’s attitude toward dealers these days is akin to: the beatings will continue until morale improves.

    It’s the product, stupids. VW is waaaaay behind the curve on this generation of product and when that gets fixed, so will sales growth. It ain’t rocket science except to the prototypically arrogant executives in Wolfsburg.

  • avatar
    sirwired

    They can hardly blame the sales drone for declining sales here. The current product lineup is awful; they’d be on the short-list of very few shoppers at this point. (And I say this as very satisfied owner of a ’04 B5.5 Passat Manual Wagon.)

    The fact they still haven’t even decided on a production plant for a competitive CUV speaks volumes.

  • avatar
    sportyaccordy

    I’m surprised dude is in trouble. Passat went from selling 22K/yr in 2011 to 109K last year. Jetta went from selling 120K in 2010 to 177K with the new bland version, dropping down about 7K in 2012 and again in 2013. So as awful as these new cars are, they are selling a shit ton more of them than they were the good cars, even with the decline. Plus every car drops in sales as a new gen perpetuates itself. So I’m not buying that people don’t like the product. For everyone who liked the B6 Passat there were 5 people who liked the current one.

  • avatar
    30-mile fetch

    VW sold 400,000 vehicles in the US in 2013, up from 260,000 in 2010 before the new Jetta and Passat debuted. That’s a 54% increase, attributable almost entirely to the North Americanized version of the Jetta & Passat, and more total sales than Mazda, Chrysler, Subaru individually, and similar to Jeep. I guess a single-digit drop in sales in a year of single-digit growth causes panic when you’re bent on world domination, but I’d frankly be happy that redesigning two car models bumped my entire brand sales by 54%.

    But once you’ve carved something stupid in stone like an 800K/year sales target when you were only selling 150K, you have to panic every year your unrealistic expectations don’t come true.

    • 0 avatar
      hreardon

      I imagine the anger from the home office comes pretty exclusively from the drop in sales when everyone else in the industry was up for the year.

      Unfortunately for the US executives, Wolfsburg is insanely myopic and fails to recognize that you can only polish a turd so much…

    • 0 avatar
      Tom Szechy

      The problem is that VAG is aiming at being the number one car manufacturer. That is, in the world.
      Talking about carving stupid stuff in stone.

    • 0 avatar
      TMA1

      I come to TTAC to get away from thinking about Cleveland Browns-style management. Your scenario seems all too familiar to me, 30-mile fetch!

  • avatar
    seth1065

    Gotta agree it is the product , If my 11 Jetta sports wagon TDI got totaled today, I do not think VW has anything right now I would even shop for. The new golf looks interesting but I would have to give them a year to work out what ever issues they will have with it. They have no pickup, no CUV that is competitive and their 2 big sellers are a few years old, not a very good spot to be in. My TDI has been a very good car for the 78k on it, and any issues I have had VW handled without a fuss or were minor repairs.

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      You wouldn’t replace it with another Sportwagen?

      • 0 avatar
        seth1065

        This is the last year for that body style with a new one 6 months away, at least the golf is not sure about the wagon style. There are not a lot of TDI wagons that way I would want them. It would make sense to buy the new model and get the upgrades, so if it got totaled tomorrow I do not know what I would buy, plus TDI’s sell pretty close to retail, there is not a lot of room for a killer deal one would expect for a closeout model. I love the car but my point is I would not be interested in any other VW product that they have right now.

    • 0 avatar
      30-mile fetch

      The Golf sells 30K a year compared to the Jetta’s 160K and Passat’s 110K. I like the Sportwagen/Golf far better than either of those two volume sellers, but they don’t sell in volume and never really have.

      And if your 2011 Sportwagen got totaled today, you could get an identical one tomorrow.

      • 0 avatar
        hreardon

        Part of the issue with the Golf and the Sportwagen is that, well, it’s a Golf or a wagon. Neither of which have traditionally been major sellers here in the US.

        The other contributing factor has been competitive packaging and pricing: in order for VW to bring those models here they had to be priced at a premium. Sure there are some of us willing to pay the premium, but the majority of the market has said ‘no thanks’.

        Now with MK7 GTIs and Golfs rolling off the line in Puebla (market production started last week), Volkswagen can finally take advantage of localized product that they can sell with better content at a (theoretically) more competitive price. Especially with the GTI, I suspect we’ll see Golf+GTI sales jump a fair amount, especially with some of the alternative powertrain options coming down the road.

        50,000 – 60,000 units annually? Perhaps.

        • 0 avatar
          lon888

          I agree with your assessment. VW currently sells about 40,000 Golf/GTI’s in the U.S. per year. If you look to Europe, they sell about 500K per year. France, for instance, a country about the size of Texas, buys about 50,000/year. VW doing the same here? I don’t think so especially at the prices they have been commanding and their a-hole dealer network. VW is just going to have to accept the fact that the Asians have kicked their arse’s. This coming from a 2012 GTI owner.

        • 0 avatar
          TMA1

          I wish someone had reported on the beginning of MKVII production in Mexico. Mazda production has started in Mexico as well, and I only saw it reported in one place.

          I wonder if VW will have sense to price the MKVII like a car produced in Mexico, as opposed to Germany. The Mexican GLI always seemed to be about $2,000 less than a comparably equipped German GTI.

        • 0 avatar
          Robbie

          The problem is that VW may now start to produce Golfs in Mexico that (1) use materials and fit and finish far inferior to those of the Wolfsburg Golf; (2) will feel as decontented and unsatisfactory as the current Jetta; and (3) will still be sold at a steep premium.

          • 0 avatar
            burgersandbeer

            Did VW spec different materials and design tolerances because they plan to build the NA spec cars in Mexico?

            Where have you read it will be decontented? Every review I have read believes it will make it across the pond intact, only losing the adjustable suspension and larger screen.

            Do you have some source indicating VW is drastically raising the price compared to the outgoing Golf?

      • 0 avatar
        seth1065

        My 11 has rear seat air bags one of the reasons I bought it rather than a 12, they are no longer offered according to VW so I would have to factor that in as well.

    • 0 avatar
      brettc

      Very confused by your statement. There are 2014 Sportwagens in TDI and the 2.5L tractor engine on lots. Or just wait until the summer when the 7th generation Golf/wagon show up (MQB Golf production started January 14 in Puebla).

      So far I’ve had good luck with my 2012 Sportwagen aside from the dealer breaking a few things as part of VW’s careless maintenance. I was able to get the dealer to replace things though (including the steering wheel that they scratched up, which costs something like $1100 new). However I plan to do my own maintenance from now on because it’s just easier than having to drop your car off and wait around, or else drop it off and go back to pick it up, etc., only to find that the low level grease monkey oil change tech broke something.

    • 0 avatar
      burgersandbeer

      The new Golf has been out in Europe for a while now. It will only be a new model for the US when it finally gets here. You should be able to check out the forums to see if they are having teething problems, though I would be surprised if you see anything statistically significant so early.

  • avatar
    Boxerman

    As Carlos Ghosen famously said “there is no prolbem at car company that good prduct cant fix”

    Its not just product, its also dealer experience, and VW has neither.

    As to product VW ocupied a niche that was essentialy BMW/Mercedes?audi type product without the badge, slightly less luxuirious for less$$. All they had to do was expand that area, instead they went for toyota yawn.

    I dont own a VW but the horor stories about crappy dealers means they woudld have to have somethign I realy really want to even considder.
    BTW my local audi dealer has an even worse reputaion, so as much as I admire their cars(audi) I wouldnt considder one.

    From experience I can tell you my local mercedes dealer looks nice and is polite but totaly incompetant. BMW has greats ervice, but their products are pretty cheap in terms ofexecution these days.

    Frankly my best experience is with Chevy. When My wife called me yesterday as I was driving back from skiing to say there is yet anoher glitch with her mercedes, my comment was “I am so glad to be driving a chevy.” In 30k miles so far the only time its gone to the dealer is for oil changes and tire rotation. There are no rattles or squeaks compared to the merc which could go 5k beore these unfixable rattles and clonks appeard. It barkes and steers nicely and is a pleasant place to be.
    Sdaly newer GM fodder has screen haptic controlls and no one I know can stand it. Such things woudl be a deal breaker for me, and you have to wonder what goes on at GM. We dont all want to contorll everything with a crappy screen.

    But at chevy when the rotors on the equinox developed a heat warp, the chevy dealer told me A, that thy were within spec, I then expained the effect/problem. Later that day when I picked the car up they told me they had decided to turn the rotors anyway, problem solved.

    Now I coudl tell you a legion of stories about warped rotors at acura, and all prblems at mercedes. I really think GM makes some great products these days, and from my experience the dealers try. This from a person who after the 80’s swore bling they would never ever buy GM again. But yeah they got to get rid of the crappy screen, consumers are not that dumb, its a manufactuering $$$ saver not abenefit, and its really crappy to use.

    The Germans have lost the plot, they are sellign on a reputaion that is no longer deserved. Electronic gimicks are not going to sell cars for long if thye drive sub par and you live in abject fear of the warranty running out.

    • 0 avatar
      Felix Hoenikker

      I too swore off GM after living with three of their cars during the 80s. I gave them another chance in 2004 with low expectations. It’s hard to turn down 30% off on a $13K MSAP car that drove better than my last $30K MB. This week I will reach the moon (239K miles) in a figurative sense with minimal repairs. IMHO, they have redeemed themselves.

  • avatar
    mjz

    The bloom is off the rose in VW’s attempt to be Toyota/Honda. After the initial sales boom, sales are starting to flounder because VW has turned off their traditional buyers, and cannot offer the reliability and reputation that a Toyota/Honda buyer is looking for. They need to reposition themselves again as the “People’s” BMW/Mercedes. Affordable, fun to drive cars for those who aspire to a BMW/Mercedes, but can’t swing it right now. THOSE customers will be willing to put up with VW’s less than stellar reputation for quality and reliability, in order to acquire the German driving experience at an affordable price. The current NA versions of the Jetta and Passat are just dull appliances lacking the quality/relaibilty creds to play with the big boys.

  • avatar
    vvk

    Ze Germans will be in for a rude awakening when a glut of lease returns forces them to write off billions in residual adjustments. The first wave is coming this fall when the B7 Passat turns 3 years old.

    I have been trying to sell my 2012 Passat for months. NOBODY wants these things. I am so glad my Passat is leased!

  • avatar
    JSF22

    VW can continue to cycle through top managers every two or three years just like it always has, or it could admit the problem and do something about it: the product just isn’t what people want. This isn’t another rant about quality. I’ve owned VWs and only rarely had trouble, and my dealer experience has really been no more frustrating than with any other brand. But with the new Jetta and Passat, they went ultra conservative when everyone else was going expressive. The Fusion, Avalon, and Altima make the Passat look ten years old. (And in that light metallic blue they painted most of the ones they sent to the Emerald Aisle, it looks like it’s straight out of 1966.) People who like how VW’s always drove won’t like the Jetta and Passat because they don’t drive like that anymore. People attracted to boring sedans that aren’t anything special to drive are people who also want to make sure their cars don’t give them any grief, so they will keep making the equally boring but safer choice of a Toyota, Honda, Nissan, or Hyundai. The interior fittings of the Jetta and Passat look and feel cheap, and the in-car electronics are to laugh at. VW has nothing to offer in the hottest market segment, a reasonably priced three-row crossover. VW clearly has the money to fix all this and with 500,000 employees must have the engineering resources somewhere to do it. So, I can only conclude they just don’t want to. Fine, but then stop making us laugh with the ridiculous talk of selling 800,000 cars a year here.

    • 0 avatar
      mjz

      The base S models of the Jetta/Passat are particularly cheesy looking. The fabric on the seats looks like it came from a fabric store bargain bin. They both have undersized wheels 15″/16″ with incredibly cheap looking wheel covers. On top of that, the Jetta S still has that archaic 2.0L engine that makes all of a 100hp. Pathetic. These base model trims needs to be upgraded or eliminated, bad for VW’s image.

      • 0 avatar
        JSF22

        You are so right. Whoever runs VW’s fleet department must be a total moron. Nobody who rents or even sees those strippers they send to daily rental, with their dog dish wheel covers and black rubber window trim, let alone getting inside and seeing that prison-spec fabric, would ever remotely consider buying or recommending one. On the other hand, every new Impala I’ve rented has been a well equipped leather-seat LTZ, and I’m impressed. VW has dug this hole for themselves and I will be surprised if they climb out this time.

  • avatar
    gglockster

    No surprises here, VW just needs to fire the rest of US Corporate. There is a reason why rental car fleets don’t bother with VW: too many hassles. As far as the market being flooded with off lease VW’s, hardly. Most of them are going to the junk yard to be parted out.

    1. VW corporate defines arrogance.
    2. VW dealers define poor sales.
    3. VW service define abusive customer service.

    The only positive thing VW has going for it is a good small diesel. The best thing for VW to do is to pull out of the NA market and license their small diesel’s to “real” car companies that need to make US CAFE standards.

    My wife drives a Chrysler and she keeps rolling her eyes at the ongoing tales of woe with my Jetta TDi. I will never buy another VW and I advise everyone to not even bother with the brand. When I need a new car, I’ll consider a diesel but never a VW.

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