By on August 12, 2014

Volkswagen CrossblueThis much we know: the Volkswagen brand sold more new vehicles in America in 2012 than in any year since 1973. The company predicted moderate growth for the Volkswagen brand in 2013, but sales fell 7%. Still, by topping 400,000 units, Volkswagen sales were 35% higher than they were a decade prior. Through the first seven months of 2014, Volkswagen brand sales are down 14% in the United States, or 13% if we exclude the transitioning Golf lineup.

We also know that the company’s bigger SUV, the Touareg, is tasked with taking the fight to premium utility vehicles. The smaller Tiguan, mostly unchanged since 2008, has 36% less cargo capacity behind the rear seats than Honda’s CR-V does.

Obviously, Volkswagen could repair its utility vehicle lineup’s destined-to-fail reputation in America and provide a measure of remediation for the overall brand’s decline with a more value-oriented family crossover. Indeed, Volkswagen will attempt to do so with a Chattanooga-assembled vehicle inspired by the CrossBlue Concept.

Of course, it was once thought that a more value-oriented midsize Volkswagen, one more suited to American tastes, would assist Volkswagen’s passenger car division. And the Passat did so, at first. Sales zoomed to a record-high 117,023 units in calendar year 2012.

Three row crossover U.S. sales chart July 2014 YTDYet other automakers – Toyota, Honda, Nissan, Ford, Hyundai, Chevrolet, Kia, Chrysler/Dodge – were selling significantly more midsize cars, bringing some perspective to the Passat’s record-setting sales year. The Passat’s 6% decline in 2013, even as the midsize sector grew, and its 12% decline so far this year (overall midsize cars are slightly south of level) is disheartening.

Nevertheless, we can assume there will be a relatively large number of buyers attracted to a three-row VW people carrier. What impact could it have in terms of rescuing the brand’s U.S. fortunes? Consider three retroactive scenarios, as if the production CrossBlue arrived seven months ago at full steam.

Scenario #1: the CrossBlue is a top-of-the-pack Ford Explorer rival. Possible? No, but here are the figures. Had the Chattanooga SUV generated 123,466 sales over the last seven months, had all else at Volkswagen continued as is, brand-wide volume would be up 37% to 333,163 units year-to-date (up from 242,571 during the same period in 2013), turning Volkswagen into a Subaru-beater, but not quite a Kia-catcher.

Scenario #2: the CrossBlue sells half that well. General Motors has sold 61,586 Traverses so far this year (in addition to 49,265 GMC Acadias and 35,408 Buick Enclaves), a fair mid-pack yardstick for the Chattanooga SUV. With numbers like that, Volkswagen brand sales would be up 12% to 271,283 units this year, enough to overtake Ram, the 12th-ranked auto brand in America at this moment.

Scenario #3: the CrossBlue is CX-9-like rare. Mazda has sold 10,931 CX-9s so far this year, nearly triple what Volkswagen has done with the Touareg, but less than a quarter of what Nissan does with the Pathfinder. In this case, by driving Volkswagen up to 220,628 year-to-date sales, the Chattanooga SUV would not have stopped the brand’s losses over the last seven months – sales would be down 9% instead of 14%.

Volkswagen’s recent downward spiral in the U.S. has not been replicated in other parts of North America. The Volkswagen division is Mexico’s second-ranked brand behind Nissan, and Volkswagen brand sales are up 3% in a market that has fallen less than 1%.

2014 will end as the brand’s fifth consecutive year of growth in Canada, where their current market share, 3.5%, is far higher than the brand’s 2.2% year-to-date showing in the U.S. When asked about the differences between VW Canada’s surge and VW USA’s difficulties, Volkswagen Canada’s media relations manager, Thomas Tetzlaff, naturally wasn’t going to point out the errors of VW USA’s ways: “More than five years ago, we decided that if Volkswagen Canada was going to be a volume player in this country we would have to fine-tune our products, and fine-tune our pricing to match consumer wants and needs.” Yet it’s clear that the job of fine-tuning has been done more effectively north of the border than it has south of the border.

Volkswagen’s subsidiaries have also proven capable of understanding the North American market. Porsche sells more vehicles seemingly at will, and 2014 will once again be a record-setting year for Audi, which is outselling Cadillac this year in America. Sales at Volkswagen, on the other hand, have declined in 16 consecutive months.

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103 Comments on “What Can The Chattanooga CrossBlue Do For You?...”


  • avatar

    That looks almost exactly like my Jeep…

  • avatar

    Why is the Durango there and NOT the Jeep Grand Cherokee???

    The Durango is no match for the Explorer. It’s like a different segment altogether. the durango should be compared to the Navigator…

    OOPS – the Navigator doesn’t offer a V8 anymore LOL…

    The Jeep Grand Cherokee sells considerably closer to the Explorer.

    EXPLORER = (2013) 178,311 14,086 (Police Interceptor Utility)

    Jeep Grand Cherokee = (2013) 174,275 11,587(Canada) for a total of 255,000.

  • avatar
    Higheriq

    “… Volkswagen could repair its utility vehicle lineup’s destined-to-fail reputation in America and provide a measure of remediation for the overall brand’s decline…” by producing cars which don’t fall apart before they’re supposed to do so.

    • 0 avatar
      seth1065

      Judging by True Delta and CR , this is not a up to date fair comment, VW seem pretty well put together these days and for at least the last few years, to be fair almost everyone seems to make cars that are well put together these days, sure there are some issues with a VW model I am sure , just as there are with Fill in the blank, GM, Ford, FCA, Toyota, Honda…

      I got 91K on my Jetta sports wagon TDI in less than three years with one major issue which VW fixed no questions asked, really not sure what I ” should buy based on reputation ” as it seems if you track the data all producers have some issues.

      VW issues are they do not have enough of a lineup, if you happy with them as brand and you want something different you go somewhere else, maybe to Audi if VW is lucky .

      • 0 avatar

        Better now…yes. But they were bad as recently as 2009.

        Honda took 25 years to develop its reputation for reliability. VW is basically starting from the beginning.

        • 0 avatar
          Dan

          The new ones aren’t as bad, in time they may even prove to be good but the self destructing shit that VW put their name on throughout the 00s is still out there self destructing.

          That’s not starting from the beginning. It’s starting from the bottom of an enormous hole.

          • 0 avatar
            bumpy ii

            A Hyundai-sized hole. Took them 20 years and almost fanatical devotion to quality improvement to climb out, and some people still won’t give them the time of day.

          • 0 avatar
            dtremit

            @bumpy ii — though Hyundai was both bad *and* cheap. VW hasn’t been seen as downmarket in a long time.

          • 0 avatar
            Luke42

            I owned one of those 00 VWs. It was self destructing shit.

            I’d love to be a VW fanboy. But, VW needs to start showing up on top-10 reliability lists, and also offer a Hyundai-length warranty before I’ll gamble on buying something from the brand that never fixed the problems on the 01 Jetta, not even with upgraded replacement parts.

            Also, my Toyotas need to wear out and/or be made obsolete on an engineering level. Good luck with that, VW.

      • 0 avatar
        Higheriq

        Ask me if I care about the opinions of True Delta and CR (NO!). As I write this, it’s just a few hours after I wrote a $535 check to fix broken motor mounts in my 68,000 mile Beetle. I can also add that this is my second VW (Why did I buy a second one? Stupidity.).

        • 0 avatar
          Richard Chen

          A chat I struck up years ago:

          Me: “So, what do you do for a living?

          Him: “I’m a Land Rover mechanic.”

          Me: “Ah, guaranteed lifetime employment. Good for you.”

      • 0 avatar
        Sigivald

        Perceptions matter a lot – and “the last few years” is still recent enough that plenty of people who bought a new pre-2009 VW are seeing it prematurely fail … right now.

        (It’s a shame that VW quality was so bad for so long; they’re really handsome cars.

        But even bracketing the question of build quality, the price for current VW offerings and their level of power vs. the competition is … not so compelling?

        I also, unrelatedly, hate the way there’s no real configurator for VW’s website. Want to explore options? Tough.

        Want to compare models and drivetrains? We’re gonna make that actively HARD.)

      • 0 avatar
        05lgt

        Improved long term durability for the last few years cars? what does that mean? You need to have old cars out there being reliable and durable to mean anything to me. bad assembly and bad initial quality are disqualifying to be sure, but if the design and manufacture don’t lead to a durable reliable product I’m passing on the car. The only way for me to believe the car will have long term reliability and durability is for the maker to have demonstrated the ability and intent to make them that way. Perception always lags reality. Too bad. You can’t be trustworthy the first time you say something. Trust has to be built over time.

      • 0 avatar
        johnny_5.0

        What was the “major” problem? And was your dealer doing you a solid to get repeat business or did it happen at lower mileage when it was covered under warranty? Depending on the severity, that isn’t actually a good track record. The mileage is high but I’m assuming it is mostly highway based on how quickly you hit that number. If this was an issue that stranded you, I wouldn’t be forgiving and dismissive when it happened within the first three years. And I think that’s part of the problem. Many people I see defending VW’s long-term reliability seem to be accepting of the very issues that drive people to Honda or Toyota.

    • 0 avatar

      Here’s the problem.

      It’s not that current VWs are bad, it is that they don’t have a reputation of reliability, even if they are much better now. When faced with a set of similar options that are known to be reliable (Accord, Camry) or better looking and may suffer the same lack of reliability (Fusion, 6) or just cheaper (Sonata, Optima) the reasonable buyer just skips the Passat.

      • 0 avatar

        Exactly.

      • 0 avatar
        tuffjuff

        @EChild

        I’m considering a CPO Touareg, and notice the resale value is absolutely horrible. The reason, I’m guessing, is because a base Touareg – albeit well-equipped – starts right around where you can find a Jeep Grand Cherokee Overland, and right below what you can find a JGC Summit for, on dealer lots. Both an Overland and Summit wipe the floor with the Touareg, feature-for-feature. Neither are related to a Porsche Cayenne, however.

        • 0 avatar
          hreardon

          And I will tell you, as a VW fan, and NOT an SUV fan, that after my wife and I drove a Grand Cherokee a few weeks ago (she wants one to replace her CRV in a years’ time), I was sold.

          I was surprised how much I liked the Jeep. I’m also scared at how badly *she* wants the Jeep.

          Remember boys, happy wife…..happy life.

      • 0 avatar
        seth1065

        That is a very fair statement to make.

      • 0 avatar
        05lgt

        Oh, never mind my above incoherency, EChid said it better.

  • avatar
    This Is Dawg

    “2014 will once again be a record-setting year for Audi, which is outselling Cadillac this year in America.” Is that unusual? (Genuine question, I have no clue.) I see more A7’s alone than new Caddillacs.

    • 0 avatar

      Audi’s A3 undercuts just about everything Cadillac has. The same can be said for the CLA and BMW 228i.

      I see more XTS than I see A7.

      I’m not at all surprised, however, to see a German car beating a Cadillac. If I had to buy a “luxury car” right now and was limited to $72,000 the only thing that would keep me from buying a K900 over an XTS would be pretectionism.

      • 0 avatar
        This Is Dawg

        All of that I get, but has Caddy outsold Audi at all in the past few years?

        Lol @ “I’m not surprised to see a German beating a Caddillac. I’d buy a Kia.” Wut.

        • 0 avatar

          Kia’s cars offer more and seem to be more refined than Cadillac’s.

          Every single stupid thing I see done in Cadillac, isn’t in the Kia K900.

          I’d take a K900 over the CTS and XTS.

          I’d have a $67,000 K900 with VIP package and a V8 engine. Reclinging rear seats with heating and cooling.

          Ask Cadillac if you could get any of that in an XTS.

          • 0 avatar

            Shocking us all, bigtruck states be prefers the car with the V8 over the car that doesn’t offer one.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            True, but he has a point. You spend enough money and you expect a V8 to be available. I think its sad that KIA of all mfgs understands this, and so called “American Luxury” brands do not.

          • 0 avatar
            Dan

            The German brands are where Cadillac was once, with the brand value to sell their cars on badge alone to customers that aren’t car people and don’t even know what they’re leasing.

            As such, the car no longer matters. BMW can sell what amounts to a longitudinal Camry as the ultimate driving machine for $60,000. Mercedes can get $40,000 for a Hungarian Sonata. They can put economy car engines in all of them, and upcharge $5,000 per cylinder to car people. They can put vinyl seats in $50,000 cars.

            But Cadillac can’t.

            GM has destroyed every bit of brand value the badge had. The wreath isn’t going to sell anything. If anything, the wreath is a liability. Offering the segment standard means people will buy it from the segment standards.

            Kia can’t either, but the difference is that Kia knows it.

          • 0 avatar
            seth1065

            what is the price for a CTS or ATS I doubt $67,000 but with Caddy you never know, I do not think the ATS and CTS are suppose to compete with the K900

          • 0 avatar

            While I’d pick a K900 V8 over an XTS V-Sport as well, the reason that Cadillac doesn’t offer a V8 in the XTS is because it’s not a permanent flagship. The actual Cadillac flagship (RWD, V8, limousine-like interior and all) should be available by this time next year, and *then* we can draw comparisons. Honestly, the XTS competes in a small arena of not-quite-authentic flagships, along with the MKS, RLX and S80. That Kia offers their K900 for the same or a lower price than the XTS is the only reason that these cars draw comparisons. If the K900 was *actually* priced similarly to all of the other RWD full-sized sedans, the XTS wouldn’t even be on its radar.

          • 0 avatar
            krhodes1

            @Dan

            The Germans have ALWAYS put vinyl seats in $50K cars. My ’88 300TE, considered by many to be a pinnacle of MB, had vinyl seats, and cost nearly $50K *back then*. It’s BETTER than leather – the seats in that car still look factory new to this day.

            As I am fond of saying, if you don’t understand what makes a 3-series cost $15K more than a Camry, enjoy your Camry and spend the money on something you care about.

            @ the rest of you
            Carrying on about cylinder count is so very 1950’s. I care about the results, not how they are gotten. I will take a turbo 4 or a turbo 6 over a V8 any day. I own a V8, it is nothing special and sucks a ton of gas. Most people neither know nor care what is under the hood, as long as it delivers the goods when you step on it.

          • 0 avatar
            Hummer

            “True, but he has a point. You spend enough money and you expect a V8 to be available. I think its sad that KIA of all mfgs understands this, and so called “American Luxury” brands do not.”

            This x100

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            You mean the K900 which every publication has derided for having the suspension tuning of a ’93 Buick LeSabre?

            At least Caddy is really getting ride and handling right these days, except in the live-axle Slade.

      • 0 avatar
        racer-esq.

        “I see more XTS than I see A7.”

        That probably has to do with you living in New York and the XTS being a popular livery car (although I see more MKT Town Cars – I’ve ridden in both and the MKT is much nicer).

        While the Germans put their cheap transverse engine FWD cars at the bottom of their lineups Cadillac puts theirs at the top. It is a tough situation though, Cadillac wants a tiered structure like the Germans, but also needs to offer a large, relatively cheap (much less than S/7/A8 money) car for its traditional livery market.

        • 0 avatar

          #1 the MKT is incredibly ugly. I just wish I could be supervisor at Ford for a few hours so I could start FIRING their designers and engineers.

          #2 The K900 doesn’t just offer a V8 – which is appropriate for that size of car…but the luxury packages which give you everything you’d find in the W222 S-class seals the deal.

          I just couldn’t buy it because of my protectionist attitude.

          Not unless I lived in Seoul…

          …and couldn’t import one of my beasts.

          • 0 avatar
            This Is Dawg

            “The MKT is incredibly ugly. I just wish I could be supervisor at Ford for a few hours so I could start FIRING their designers and engineers.”

            While I wouldn’t stop you, I’ve stopped hating the MKT so much by thinking of it as a rounded Flex and not a morbidly obese MKX.

          • 0 avatar
            tuffjuff

            @BTSR

            You have far too amazing a stable of vehicles to be talking about buying a Kia. I wouldn’t find Kia as much of a joke as I do if the 2010 Forte EX I had 4-5 years ago wasn’t a complete piling of flaming garbage.

          • 0 avatar
            dtremit

            @This Is Dawg — I think that’s rather the problem. Who on earth thought it was a good idea to round off a Flex?

          • 0 avatar
            VCplayer

            Hey now, I really like the MKT’s looks!

            If nothing else, it deserves some credit for trying to be original in a marketplace full of increasingly similar design traits, but I get that it isn’t everyone’s cup of tea.

          • 0 avatar
            Sigivald

            “I’ve stopped hating the MKT so much by thinking of it as a rounded Flex and not a morbidly obese MKX.”

            I never hated it, because I knew it was a Lincoln Flex from the start…

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            “everything you’d find in the W222”

            Except for the slightest semblance of prestige, and handling which isn’t scary at speeds above 30 mph.

      • 0 avatar
        bunkie

        The XTS has become the car of choice for the higher-class black car services in NYC. Walk out of my office (on Park Ave.) and they are lined up *everywhere*. So much so that I’m growing to like the styling.

      • 0 avatar
        hreardon

        Well, I think the problem Cadillac has, and as we discussed in another thread, is that they’re trying to be the American BMW. Hell, if I wanted a BMW, I’d buy the BMW, right?

        Cadillac is lucky in that it has distinctive styling that actually looks good (granted, subjective comment, but look at Lexus…*shudder*), and a platform is that is at least very competitive with the Germans. Cadillac just hasn’t got the details right yet and they can’t command the premium.

        In some ways this is where VW is with things like the Touareg. It’s not a bad product, but as I mentioned earlier, were I in the market for an SUV, the T-Reg is probably the last in a long list of products I would choose from.

    • 0 avatar
      Timothy Cain

      As far as GCBC records go back, Audi has never outsold Cadillac on an annual basis in the United States.

      • 0 avatar
        hreardon

        Timothy –

        That will very likely change for CY2014 and if the upcoming Q3 launch, new Q7 and A4 goes as well as I suspect it will, Audi will wipe the floor with Cadillac next year. 2015-2016 should be blow-out years for them in North America.

        • 0 avatar
          Mandalorian

          I see more A7s than I do new A6s, by a wide margin. It seems that the slightly different styling over the same mechanicals is worth quite a lot of money to most people. The A7 costs as much as a V8 powered 5-Series or E-Class.

          I must say, good job Audi!

  • avatar
    memremkr

    Stack Traverse, Enclave and Acadia on top of each other and you get the picture of the true success. Explorer for all its Uni-body design still feels like a truck vs the GM Lambda’s. I owned a Ford Freestyle (D2 Chassis, before the D3 the Explorer is based on) and it had a wonderful ride. Porsche, Audi and the other niche players of fine cars seem to “get it”, at least with their intended markets. VW on the other hand has dashboards reminiscent of the 1990’s, powered by constantly cheapened engines and other parts (unless you are willing to shell out for the more expensive vehicles -Aka Tourag). Grab a base petrol powered Passat and take it up against a base 2013 Hyundai Sonata and see which one “gets”. The Passat, in the finest German tradition, will be the most efficient in interior space, trunk room, etc., just won’t sell. I rented a “Wolfsburg Edition Passat” and could not wait to turn it in. These VW’s, including the “Crossblue” look like a Mitsubishi SUV and may sell just as many over the long haul based on its market size. I worked 8 years for a German parent company and constantly watched as they promised big and delivered little….. as nobody wants to question “the board” and all the ego’s involved. Maybe Volkswagen has something up their sleeve that will excite, if not they may do well the 3rd time they build cars in the US in another 30 years.

  • avatar
    sirwired

    If only they could have sorted out their reliability problems about fiteen years ago. Their vehicle lineup going into 2000 was superb, giving people a German car without the BMW/Audi/Merc. price. Even compared to today, the ergonomics and designs of the 2000-ish models are excellent, and the designs have held up well. The 1.8T engine was designed well (even if contained some sub-par accessories, such as t-belt tensioners and coil-packs), and compares favorably even to some of the engines being produced today.

    But persistent quality issues (especially with the earlier iterations of the 1.8T engine) ruined VW’s reputation as a mainstream auto brand. (People forgive BMW and Porsche for churning out unreliable junk because they are too afraid to publicly regret their expensive purchase.)

    Add that to the fact that VWoA, even when batting a thousand with their product lineup, could’t make money. (Selling an Audi for a VW price isn’t a recipe for profits? Who woulda’ thunk it?)

    Coasting on the reputation of those early 2000’s vehicles, they “decontented” the lineup so it could actually be profitable, and in the process managed to remove the one thing that made their cars really unique. Now their lineup is competent, if not particularly unique cars that still aren’t very reliable compared to the competition. They’ve reversed some of the decontenting by finally jettisoning the 2.5 and adding back in some of the interior they stripped, but it may be too little too late.

    I adore my ’04 1.8T M/T Passat Wagon (up to 135k and still running fine), but it’s replacement probably won’t be another VW.

    • 0 avatar

      I concur. The current Passat is handsome, but step into a 2007 or 2008 Passat and see how much better things were back then. It just doesn’t seem to me—despite my recent purchase—that VW’s new, decontented-for-America cars are value propositions. They are still overpriced.

      • 0 avatar
        tuffjuff

        @Kyree

        The Passat, and really all of VW’s line-up is very handsome and under-stated, which if anything adds an up-scale touch to them, in my opinion. TDI is what makes VW stand-out, to me, as you can find nearly all of their vehicles with efficient, proven diesel engines.

        • 0 avatar

          Yeah. I took a bite of the TDI apple and now I have a 2014 Jetta SportWagen TDI with DSG and panoramic sunroof. I love it. But if it weren’t for the tremendous discount and excellent interest rate I got from VW Credit, it would have been *really* overpriced for what it was, even with the diesel. MSRP for the one I took home was $31,000. This is for something that has fake leather, no foglamps or automatic headlamps in *any* spec (although there are near-OEM retrofits that I plan to implement for both of those), 2-way power-adjustable seats, no smart key (but I hate those) and no navigation.

          I’m very pleased with it, all the same, but I might have looked elsewhere if they’d wanted me to pay anything close to MSRP for it. In fact, I remember specifically writing here that TDI-equipped VW/Audi vehicles were wildly overpriced and that I *wasn’t* going to pay a premium for one.

        • 0 avatar
          hreardon

          I’m a VW and Audi supporter, but even I can’t get behind the new Passat. It’s fine, but there is absolutely nothing about it that would make me want one.

          I’d pick up a Honda Accord or Ford Fusion over a Passat every day of the week and on twice on Sundays.

          If you want steady and reliable, you get the Honda. If you want flair and American dash, you get the Fusion. Then there are tons of alternatives in-between: Altima, Camry, Mazda 6, etc.

          VW was trying to do a lot with the new Passat: one, make it simple so that VW could move up in the rankings (fewer things to break), make it less expensive, make it larger for American tastes. Unfortunately, what VW did was to give us something that nobody really wanted: a midsize Volkswagen with a large back seat, questionable (though improved) reliability, and blandness to make a person cry.

          I get why they did what they did, but damn, it hurts.

    • 0 avatar
      This Is Dawg

      TL;DR they shot themselves in the foot and all they could do now is again sell at a loss to have a lineup of affordable content-ed up “Nice German Cars.” Looks to me like they need to focus some R&D on time travel.

      What else could they do, offer infinite warranties?

      • 0 avatar
        S2k Chris

        Nevermind infinite warranties, they’re going BACKWARDS. When we bought my wife’s Jetta in 2008, she got a 4/48 (or 4/50, whatever, don’t remember). The next year, they gave 3/36 warranty, plus 1/12 of free service (which is basically ONE oil change). Recently, they dropped the 1/12 service, so now it’s just 3/36. Silly.

        • 0 avatar
          Sky_Render

          VW’s awful warranty (worst in the industry, based on my research) is the reason I won’t even consider a VW for my next car. Many people take out 60-month (5-year) loans and don’t want to risk something breaking on their car during the last 2 years of payments.

          • 0 avatar
            psarhjinian

            More problematic is their warranty performance. It’s not just the length, it’s that VW tends to put the screws to their North American dealers when it comes to both authorizing warranty repairs and compensating them for service.

            Compare this to, eg, Honda who gives their dealers a lot of leniency.

            People will forgive a problem if it’s quickly fixed.

          • 0 avatar
            hubcap

            Aren’t most warranties 3/36 for standard cars/brands and 4/48 for luxury/premium brands? I’m not sure how long their power train coverage lasts but I’d guess it’s in line with the rest of the industry.

            Based on the length and terms am I missing something?

          • 0 avatar
            S2k Chris

            “Aren’t most warranties 3/36 for standard cars/brands and 4/48 for luxury/premium brands?”

            Yes, but A) there are companies like Hyundai that use a longer warranty as a competitive advantage, and B) most companies don’t have VW’s dismal reputation for (lack of) quality. When I bought my wife’s MkV (which turned out to be great, I will admit) it was qualified with that fact that I’d only consider it if we bought the extended 100k mile B2B warranty, which we did.

          • 0 avatar
            danio3834

            “Aren’t most warranties 3/36 for standard cars/brands and 4/48 for luxury/premium brands? I’m not sure how long their power train coverage lasts but I’d guess it’s in line with the rest of the industry.”

            Most major companies offer a 3/36 basic warranty for all components aside from wear items. Powertrain warranties can vary from 5/60 for VW and Toyota, to 5/100 for Chrysler, GM, Ford. Hyundai does have a 10/100 powertrain warranty, but it only applies to the first owner. Buy one second hand and you only get 5/60.

            Hyundai’s basic warranty is also 5/60 which is very competitive, but it does exclude some items like radios and paint which would traditionally be covered under such a warranty.

            In my opinion, if VW has confidence in its products, it should at least match the Detroit 3 for warranty coverage. Their quality reputation just doesn’t allow them to hang with Toyota in that way.

  • avatar
    racer-esq.

    tl;dr How much is it in brown with stick?

  • avatar
    Toad

    I’d still like to see VW import the Skoda Yeti that was reviewed at TTAC on 1/14/14. VW needs something relatively affordable in the CUV segment and I don’t see any variant of the CrossBlue stickering at under $30k, especially a decently optioned model.

    Buyers can get a decently equipped Honda or Toyota CUV in the mid-$20’s (or with low lease prices based on historically high residual value). VW needs a relatively affordable CUV, and the CrossBlue isn’t it.

    • 0 avatar
      S2k Chris

      Does VW have an engine that makes sense in a CUV? They’ve gone full FI (aside from the ancient 2.Slow), and FI isn’t ideal in a larger heavier vehicle like it is in a smaller lighter one. It’s more expensive, and likely less efficient, and often requires premium fuel (a no no for a lot of people in the $20k range).

      • 0 avatar

        It’s probably going to start at around $28K-$29K, like most other three-row crossovers. I’m guessing the 3.6-liter VR6 will be the base engine (it’s also the base engine in the Touareg, Cayenne and at one point the Q7). They may be able to capture a lot of non-diesel enthusiasts with a diesel option, just as they did with the Passat TDI. But the Jetta Hybrid has an excellent powertrain and if they could scale that up to handle a large crossover, that could work as well.

        And yes, VW definitely needs to stop using the 2.0-liter in the Jetta S. Honestly, that spec is far more insulting and cheap-feeling than any Corolla CE I’ve ever seen.

  • avatar

    So, what is the difference between the markets in U.S. and other countries? Is it rust? Pricing regime? Attitudes about the expected durability of vehicles?

    • 0 avatar
      krhodes1

      Americans historically have wanted as cheap as possible in the volume market segments, and would not pay the price for the sort of niceties that other markets would. That is now changing – the people who still buy new cars want nicer cars than has historically been the case. VW made a strategic decision to cheap out the Passat and Jetta to more match American norms. But then the market changed! To some extent, Toyota has been caught out too – which is why the Camry is relying on absolutely unheard of before incentives to keep its sales crown. Who would have thought 10-15 years ago that there would be deep discounts on Camrys??

      In addition, American cars have typically been pretty crude devices (admittedly with big engines) by European standards. As have the Japanese cars modeled on them (less the big engines for the most part). The sort of highly evolved higher maintenance design that the Germans like comes across as fragile and needy here. And to make it worse, ALL the Germans found themselves in a tough place in the mid 90s. Their costs were way too high, and they were pricing themselves out of the market. The resulting cost-cutting (BMW plastic cooling systems) and supplier squeezing (VW coil packs, window clips) went too far and caused additional reliability issues. Plus ill-conceived “green” initiatives (Volvo/Saab/MB biodegradable wiring harnesses and MB rust proofing). Which is where the overblown “Germans are unreliable” meme comes from. The Japanese did this much better to American eyes – a 2012 Camry is MUCH cheaper both literally and figuratively than a 1992 Camry, but they never had near as many reliability issues. The Americans just got their act together and generally no longer have to sell at a huge discount to sell. Now they just have a pricing model of a higher MSRP with readily available discounts to bring it down to reality. But they are making money now, as opposed to the days of a modest MSRP and still had to have huge discounts to move the metal.

      • 0 avatar
        dtremit

        Ah, but complexity ≠ evolution. And that’s something that Germany has had trouble understanding.

        Contrast with watches: a Patek Philippe is certainly more satisfying and more appealing than a $10 Casio. It is more impressive. But the $10 Casio is the more highly evolved watch.

        When mechanical mechanisms were all you could get, a Swiss watch was a logical purchase; it was more accurate and more reliable. But today, you can’t make that argument on a practical basis. Mercedes and BMW and Audi can make the enthusiast play, but that’s not a volume game.

        I remain unconvinced that VW is capable of building cost-effective, competitive mainstream cars for first-world economies. The places where they succeed on price — Brazil, China, etc. — they do so by producing and updating older models; that strategy won’t work in the US or Europe, and isn’t going to work forever in the markets where they’re doing it now. And I don’t think MQB is going to save them; it just sounds like they’ve managed to overcomplicate simplification.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    Now at your VW dealer the VW Highlander-me-too!

    • 0 avatar
      S2k Chris

      My MIL is a two-time Highlander owner, and I’ve driven both of hers extensively. Honestly, if VW could build something with the utility, cost, reliability, and size of the Highlander, while taking out the frumpiness and utilitarian, casually-screwed-together* interior and add in some style and nicer finishes, I’d be real interested.

      *BOTH of her cars had the airbag cover on the steering wheel not centered; flush with the trim on one side and a 1/4″ gap on the other. Catches your eye as soon as you get in. Just terrible fit and finish in that thing.

  • avatar
    Sky_Render

    If Volkswagen is serious about increasing their US sales, they need to do a few things:
    1. Fix your website. It looks like an iPhone puked all over your server. Sure, it looks pretty, but it takes half an hour to find any info on any of your cars.
    2. Have a warranty that doesn’t suck. Why would I consider buying a car with only a 3-year warranty whenever almost every other manufacturer provides at least a 5-year one?
    3. Stop pricing your cars as though you’re a premium brand. Just because you’re European doesn’t mean you can charge more. VW is Germany’s version of Hyundai, for crying out loud.

    • 0 avatar
      tuffjuff

      Their website is truly terrible. And the most confusing part is where it’s showing European product, with no chance to configure American vehicles.

      • 0 avatar
        This Is Dawg

        Wow no kidding. “Find a match” is in no way an intuitive replacement for “build and price.”

        • 0 avatar
          dtremit

          The baffling thing is, they *had* a build and price tool, and a good one. It’s gone now.

          • 0 avatar
            CoastieLenn

            I liked building out the GTI’s a few years ago… watching the appearance of the displayed vehicle change as you added options.

            To me, theres nothing worse than a configurator that shows a 2D stock image that doesn’t change when you add packages/options. I wanna see what that spoiler looks like (theoretically) on the back of that car!

    • 0 avatar
      CoastieLenn

      “VW is Germany’s version of Hyundai, for crying out loud.”

      While I wholeheartedly agree, you’ll never get the diehard VW fans to admit that nor will you ever see the VW brass coming to that realization. With other marques such as Porsche, Bentley, Lamborghini, etc. under their umbrella, having a “Hyundai-esq” name plate will not likely happen. It serves to cheapen the rest of the corporate pool.

    • 0 avatar
      Fred

      Every flash based site is terrible. Only Toyota allowed me to get a brochure in just a few clicks.

      • 0 avatar

        Let me say that, as a web designer, I love the VW website’s aesthetic, but it’s hardly functional. It’s really annoying that I can’t do a “build your own” exercise, like I could do with any other automaker’s website…including VW’s own Audi and Porsche. Now VW may have made that decision because its cars are very simply-packaged, without extra “sub-packages” and a-la-carte options here and there, but it’s still stupid. Most configurators use Flash and the VW website’s *lack* of Flash may be why it doesn’t have one. But I actually maintain that no one should be using Flash for this kind of thing in this day and age and that there are far better ways to have dynamic content on your website, like Angular.js

        • 0 avatar
          Beerboy12

          I agree. However, especially other manufacturers, tend to use the builder as the only way to find what features come with what models and that is just not right.

        • 0 avatar
          This Is Dawg

          Ha wait I wasn’t making up what I said about the “Find and Match” button. That’s how you configure your own. It’s just (as now demonstrated) HORRIBLY labelled.

    • 0 avatar
      Beerboy12

      I suspect the same person or company designed all the manufacturers web sites because they are for all intents and purposes the same. Some annoying flash, lots of marketing, a completely pointless car builder and almost ZERO useful information…

  • avatar
    mmh2

    The CrossBlue may have a chance because it’s a new model. VW missed on strategy with the Passat by decontenting a vehicle that had a premium perception in buyers’ minds. Their gamble was that they would 1) not lose existing Passat buyers (they did) and 2) attract new buyers with value pricing on what would still be perceived as a premium vehicle (they did not).

    Without that perception gap, and without an existing group of owner/buyers to piss off, VW gets to start with a clean slate to the market. They can make the CrossBlue whatever their marketers want it to be.

  • avatar
    VCplayer

    VW should probably just consider going Audi only at some point, Audi has to be a gazillion times more profitable. Why everyone is gaga of Audis doesn’t make a lot of sense to me, but some how they’ve managed to convince people that they have secret sauce or something.

    Anyways, VW is just completely clueless about how to sell cars in America, and probably it isn’t worth the long term investment. Boring exteriors, dull interiors, and non-sensicle pricing. The only thing that they have going for them is “German-ness,” which is a sort of esoteric concept for most people. Plus Ford selling more and more European models in the US is not helping VW gain any sort of unique footing in the market.

    The US market is already super-competitive with every other major company in the world putting out top-shelf product. Who is VW going to take share from to find a place in the market? It sure isn’t going to be Toyota or Honda. Ford is basically selling better VWs already, and Nissan sells Japanese VWs. I guess they can compete with Chevy/Hyundai/Dodge, but their cars are way too expensive to do that well. And some of those Chevy/Hyundai Dodge vehicles are actually really good now.

    Do what Mercedes and BMW do: just sell Audi and save your pedestrian offerings for the rest of the world. (Or figure out how to put lipstick on them and sell them as “entry-level luxury,” despite cars like the Cruze being a way better vehicle and bargain).

  • avatar
    Cabriolet

    Not to sure when S2KCHRIS purchased his VW but when i purchased my 2009 VW TDI the car came with 3/36,000 miles full warranty and 5/60,000 miles engine & transmission warranty. It also included full free service for the first 3 years/30,000 miles. I wish people would check their quotes when giving out the usual VW hate. For the record the 2009 VW never gave me a bit of trouble.

    • 0 avatar
      S2k Chris

      I forgot about the 5/60 powertrain warranty, but look it up: in 2008, our Jetta came with 4/50. In 2009, they shortened it, and threw in a year of free service. Recently, they dropped the free service, but didn’t re-lengthen the warranty.

      http://www.nadaguides.com/Cars/2008/Volkswagen/Jetta-5-Cyl/Sedan-4D-SE/Warranty

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    “What Can The Chattanooga CrossBlue Do For You?”

    Get discontinued.

  • avatar
    RobertRyan

    SUV sales are OK in Australia, but the Amarok is not selling that well

  • avatar
    philadlj

    At this point, the CrossBlue may be too little too late, especially if we see another gas spike.

  • avatar
    George B

    I expect the CrossBlue to sell worse than the Nissan Pathfinder. In my opinion, the best example of the core competency of Volkswagen is the Golf/GTI. Unfortunately for Volkswagen, their core competency in building somewhat premium fun to drive hatchbacks doesn’t match American tastes. Making the Jetta and Passat larger and less expensive did help sales, but not as much as Volkswagen had hoped. Part of the problem is the new larger models lost much of the fun and somewhat premium characteristics that made people want to buy a Volkswagen in the first place. Ideally, the NA Jetta, Passat, and CrossBlue would feel more like larger relatives of the Golf/GTI. Real Volkswagen suspension tuning, but with room for rear-facing child car seats.

    The best way for Volkswagen to overcome lingering concerns about reliability would be for Volkswagen to match the Hyundai and Kia warranty. American consumers seem willing to give car brands a 2nd chance if the brand reduces the risk of getting stuck with a lemon. If reliability really is improved to match competitors, Volkswagen won’t have to pay much more in warranty claims.

    • 0 avatar
      hreardon

      George B –

      Agreed. The best thing for Volkswagen to do would be to slap on a Hyundai-esque assurance plan to their cars to remove that concern from buyers’ minds. Hyundai has changed the warranty to apply only to the first owners, but I think that’s completely fair.

      It’s all about reducing risk and barriers to entry. This would be a HUGE move. Volkswagen’s incredible reluctance to do this in the face of so many years of surveys and consumer complaints leads me to believe the (potential) costs must be astronomical.

      Ironic, considering Germany is the land of insurance.

  • avatar
    Cabriolet

    S2k CHRIS you still have it wrong. VW still offers 3/36 full coverage and 5/60 engine and drive train coverage. They still offer free 3 years full service. My 2011 GTI received its final free service this year.


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