By on May 2, 2015

volkswagen-chattanooga-solar-park-08

Even with a depressed euro and sales falling 2.7 percent in April, Volkswagen is staying the course.

According to Automotive News, Volkswagen has no plans to change its current pricing strategy to chase market share. The brand has seen steady declines in the U.S. even as the market overall has been growing.

“We believe it’s the right strategy over the long term,” Christian Klingler told AN.

He stated Volkswagen has a long-term approach to protecting profits and won’t try to chase volume at its expense. Similar problems are being experienced in other markets like Brazil. Also, even with the euro down versus the American dollar, most U.S. sales volume comes from North American-built vehicles, negating any possible positive currency impact.

Much of Volkswagen’s sales slump can be attributed to their current model mix. The brand does not offer a competitive crossover between the long-in-the-tooth Tiguan and much more expensive Touareg, a segment currently experiencing significant growth.

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136 Comments on “Volkswagen Won’t Cut Prices to Chase Market Share in U.S....”


  • avatar

    Um. Does this mean they’ll improve their quality then?

    • 0 avatar
      Pch101

      He’s here all week! Tip your waitresses!

      • 0 avatar
        Pig_Iron

        Two weeks ago I saw a a Passat about a year or two old. The control rod had failed, and the front driver’s side wheel folded in like landing gear. Luckily he was on a suburban road when it failed and had gone into the guide rail instead of the oncoming rush hour traffic.

        The bewildered millennial was holding his head and pacing back and forth while calling for help. So Pch101, you’re right, Volkswagen’s incompetence in quality and reliability is not a joke, it is a well known tragedy.

        And their dealership treatment of their customers is legendary in a very, very bad way.

    • 0 avatar
      Lorenzo

      I’m not sure they can improve quality without changing their engineering philosophy. I’m a civil engineer, but a mechanical engineer told me VW parts are designed to work perfectly with other parts it’s connected to that also must work perfectly.

      When any part falls out of sync with the others, it creates a click, clunk, or buzz that European owners notice and get the vehicle to a shop, where mechanics know how to get the part back in sync with minimal effort and cost.

      Americans ignore the clicks, clunks, and buzzing until the car runs poorly or not at all, and by then the part must be replaced. VW parts are expensive, many of them are embedded, and US mechanics aren’t that familiar with them, so the labor cost is high too.

      VW engineers would have to follow old Chrysler’s system of identifying heavy wear parts and building robustness into them, as was done with the slant six and heavy duty Torqueflite. They saved money by re-using old designs for handles, hinges, and other external parts that they made cheaply.

      VW would have to retrain all their white-haired engineers!

      • 0 avatar
        markf

        Typical German response, you Americans don’t know how to correctly listen to our cars as they fall apart………

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          +1

        • 0 avatar

          But correct. Having a few of the beasts over time, they demand that you competently service them. A lot of cars sold in the US market are set and forget. Shocks won’t get changed, never mind niceities like bushings. When my 3 puked a steering pump far from home, I told my wife to “find a specialist”. She did, and the car was fixed correctly and reasonably.

          In the past, I’ve had hothouse flowers butchered by non specialists, so you do need to get that part of the ownership thing right. I’ve also replaced a few $8 parts buried under two hours of labor. I confess Stockholm syndrome where working on German cars is concerned.

          Cars are a lot more expensive in Germany, and the rest of Europe. A 3/C is considered a BIG car over there, and a Golf is “the regular family car”. Transaction prices are a lot higher, even without VAT. I had a 320d rental, a normal e90, which came back as $68k, which would be a $40k car in the US. VW suffers from building a car for a much more expensive market, and selling it in the cheap one, which is exactly backwards. MB, BMW, etc can get away with it, but that is also another reason we don’t get the 1 series five door. It would sell for a 32K price point. The German build TDi vs the NA build Jetta, last generation, was instructive for a car made to fight it out in the toughest class in Europe vs something designed to out sell Camry on price. This is the reason for much of the decontenting vis-a-vis EDM.

          Not good for the potential Camry owner.

        • 0 avatar

          @markf LOL.

          Americans treat their cars like woman – talk to them but never listen. Do Brazilians listen to their cars or it is phenomena unique to American white angry men?

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        I may be wrong, but German engineering seems to value complexity for its own sake, which makes things interesting for them but prone to breaking. BMW fixes this with free maintenance, but not VW.

        That doesn’t work well for Americans who are accustomed to the Japanese method (low maintenance) and the US approach (make things that may be more likely to break but are relatively cheap and easy to fix.) If the Germans want Americans to accept this, then they need to make it easier to stomach the cost. (Coddling will suffice.)

        • 0 avatar
          runs_on_h8raide

          pch101 pretty much nailed it.

        • 0 avatar

          “make things that may be more likely to break but are relatively cheap and easy to fix.” American approach is almost identical to Russian one. No wonder we won the war.

        • 0 avatar
          baconpope

          The Germans and the Japanese both understand that a broken car must be replaced. if you can blame it on the American mechanic, all the better.

        • 0 avatar
          redav

          The stereotypical German engineering is bad engineering. Simple is always better. Tolerance to wear, flaws, errors, etc., is always good. Quality is determined by the final performance, not by the effort that goes into it.

        • 0 avatar
          danio3834

          “German engineering seems to value complexity for its own sake.”

          Indeed. Why should a PCV valve replacement on a VR6 Passat be a $1500 job?

          The owner of that car won’t be buying another VW.

          • 0 avatar
            hreardon

            danio –

            If we’re talking the VR6 from 20+ years ago I have no idea, but considering that my old 2000 Jetta VR6 PCV replacement cost $275 and my ’06 A3 PCV replacement was $180, labor included, at the Audi dealer, I want to be in the business that can get away with $1500 PCV replacements.

        • 0 avatar
          dantes_inferno

          > (Coddling will suffice.)

          Therein lies the problem in this country – people have been coddled to the point when adversity calls, they tend to crumble like a cheap suit, whine and complain (see the “everyone gets a trophy” generation; see the helicopter parents, etc.).

          Americans need to be kicked in the @ss these days – not coddled – to break out of this malaise of the entitlement mindset.

      • 0 avatar
        jetcal1

        Hello Lorenzo,
        My approach to maintenance is heavily biased by my aviation experience. My vehicles are as well maintained as anything out there. I have attempted to own 4 VW vehicles since 1983. My 2002 GTI had a mean time between failures of about 44 hours. The follow on 2004 Passat while better was still unimpressive.
        VW is and has been a joke for reliability. If an airplane was as bad as VW the FAA and product liability lawyers would be all over VW like white on rice.

        • 0 avatar
          markf

          Why on earth would you buy a new VW 2 years after you owned one that was terrible? Sounds like the triumph of optimism over experience……..

          • 0 avatar

            Triumph of will. I know that Hitler did horrible thing but cannot stop watching documentaries about Hitler and his party. There is something in German that make them attractive even though they are incarnation of evil.

          • 0 avatar
            jetcal1

            Markf,
            Attorney letter resulted in a VWOA buy back to avoid lemon law. Needless to say things got very quiet in the office when not only did I breakout a tape recorder but they realized I wasn’t upside down on the car.

    • 0 avatar
      haroldingpatrick

      Not to be argumentative, but their quality is not really a big issue any more as far as I can tell. I report my fleet to Truedelta and subscribe to Consumer Reports. When I look at their respective information on Golfs, Passats, and Jettas they are about average. I think the gas Passat is above average. So they are probably no more a risk to buy than most cars. Toyota is the reliability king, Honda is the prince. and then there is everybody else.

      Buy what you like and enjoy.

      • 0 avatar
        DenverMike

        It’s not (just) that they’re not reliable enough, but how much is a blown head gasket repair? Transmission rebuild? Do they even rebuild them or is it a ‘dealer only’ crate trans. I’d hate to find out the hard way. But call and ask around what it is for the most common, big repairs. How much is anything for a 2010 Jetta vs Camry or ? It’s a good indicator for a 2015 in 2020. You might be surprised or blown away.

      • 0 avatar
        jetcal1

        Hello Harolding,
        like my story, I have heard anecdotal stories of VW quality improving. I hope current owners don’t have the same experience that I had.

    • 0 avatar
      WheelMcCoy

      Someone told me this about German makes, but I’ll insert VW here:

      Anxious customer: My VW has an oil leak!
      VW service rep (in heavy German accent): We don’t make oil leaks! What did you do?

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al from Oz

      @Thomas Kreutzer,
      I have been reading the US problems with VW’s quality.

      So far we haven’t had issues arise in our Australian market as you had in the US.

      It appears VW, like the MB Sprinter the quality issues are US centric.

      Maybe if VW has the extra cash from maintaining it’s current pricing structure can move some of that into US manufactured vehicle quality improvement.

      Here VW is viewed as a high quality product.

      I suppose it comes down to where vehicles are manufactured.

      • 0 avatar
        dantes_inferno

        > I suppose it comes down to where vehicles are manufactured.

        It also comes down to a “Everyone wants to build, but no one wants to maintain” mindset on the part of average consumers and decision makers (politicians, etc.) alike – which is far too prevalent in the US these days. All you need to do is observe the state of the US infrastructure (roads, railways, etc.), and you’ll get the picture.

  • avatar
    CJinSD

    By following this path they’ll have to cut production. Cutting production will hurt those pesky US employees that refused to pay tribute to organized crime. Infiltrating mobsters will play on the workers’ lack of job security to get them to submit to the union’s demand for their money. German VAG’s long term strategy will be one step closer to achieving its US plant closure.

  • avatar
    65corvair

    That is a good strategy, but the cars need to be worth it. Like Thomas said, they need to improve quality. Take a Chevy, you expect to pay thousands less than sticker, a Honda you expect to pay very close to sticker. Honda never offers much off, but the cars are worth it.

    I would have loved to have gotten a VW wagon with a manual last summer, but I got an Accord manual instead. I wanted a reliable car.

    • 0 avatar
      Pch101

      The reliability issues could be offset with aggressive subsidized leasing and long CPO warranties. But the prices may be too low to justify that.

      • 0 avatar
        HerrKaLeun

        Cheap leasing is only sustainable if the resale value is high, which also relates to (perceived) reliability. the CPO insurance will be expensive for unreliable cars, so building reliable cars impacts profit and the value of the car at each stage.

        subsidized leasing is needed when resale value is low, and we all know what happens once the OEM needs to subsidize sale or lease of its cars…..

        • 0 avatar
          Pch101

          BMW heavily subsidizes its leases, then recycles cars back through its CPO program and used car sales, controlling enough used late model inventory that it can push up residuals, which in turn helps to support the leasing program.

          In effect, many of its cars are delivered twice, by design. It’s essentially the Germany company car model adapted to US conditions and tax laws, which are not nearly as favorable to leasing.

          But BMWs have higher prices, which provide the OEM with more room for funding a subsidy. The math for VWs can’t be nearly as good, but it would be cheaper than completely reforming the company so that it has more of a quality orientation.

          • 0 avatar
            CJinSD

            The premium Germans also export lots of their off-lease cars to places where quality isn’t such a factor in residuals.

          • 0 avatar
            HerrKaLeun

            That scheme only works because BMW already can ask for MSRP way above their production cost. Ultimately an OEM needs to get more revenue than expenses are, no matter what accounting tricks.

            and people are willing to make a$600 lease payment to have the roundel. As long as BMW breaks even at $500 they can advertise $700 and give a $100 discount and still get out ahead. (I’m just making up these numbers as it depends on model etc.)

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            I noted that the math for VWs isn’t as good. That’s a given.

            However, VW must be losing money in this market, and that isn’t sustainable. Since it won’t reinvent itself as a quality-oriented lean producer, it needs to find an alternative.

            Service and style can be substitutes for reliability if done properly. Reliability becomes less important if the pain can be taken out of it.

          • 0 avatar
            LectroByte

            > BMW heavily subsidizes its leases, then recycles cars back through its CPO program and used car sales, controlling enough used late model inventory that it can push up residuals, which in turn helps to support the leasing program.

            Seriously? Do you have any evidence that isn’t brown and smelly that BMW “heavily subsidizes its leases” ? Do you understand “residual value”? If your “theory” here was correct, then everybody would be doing it. Keep dreaming, though.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Predictable residuals are key in a lease heavy business. In a real world example If the 2year buyout figure is 67% of msrp (MY14 Acura ILX), the block is paying 60% (for MY13s), and the lease holder turns in the lease instead of buying, the lease owner is on the hook for that 7% loss. I imagine Ford is losing money hand over fist in this way for Lincoln Zephyrs which sell between 36-40K but quickly do 18-20 in less than two years.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            BMW has some of the highest incentive spending in the industry. Last year, it averaged almost $5,000 per unit.

            http://www.autonews.com/article/20150112/RETAIL/301129987/luxury-champ-bmw-spent-big-on-spiffs

            Much of that is spent on leasing.

          • 0 avatar
            CJinSD

            We just turned in a leased 2012 Audi A6 3.0T Monday before last. We made $25,700 in payments. We paid $3,900 when it was delivered. Residual value that they offered the car to us for was $27,000. Add all those figures up and you get a total of $56,600. That’s for a car with an MSRP of $59K and change, and includes all taxes and fees paid at the time of acquisition. We received a deal that either involved a negative interest rate or a huge discount or both. That’s a subsidized lease.

            Incidentally, this wasn’t a deal negotiated by me. It also didn’t have the attractive terms they were advertising, because the company I work for that leased the car had a bad credit rating at the time. I think someone with desirable credit would have been able to lease the car for a total of $2,340 less over the three years.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            Compared to Mercedes and BMW, Audi lease subsidies are usually fairly modest. Incentive spend for Audi is generally well below the others.

          • 0 avatar
            LectroByte

            Didn’t see anything about BMW having heavily subsidized leases, but I do agree on the spiffs, what BMW dealer doesn’t knock 5 grand off on a 5 series?

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            Negotiating a price that is less than MSRP is not an example of an incentive.

          • 0 avatar
            HerrKaLeun

            “BMW has some of the highest incentive spending in the industry. Last year, it averaged almost $5,000 per unit.”

            when you have $10k markup, you still come out ahead after that “incentive” of $5K. VW doesn’t have that markup to play the same game substantially.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            VW does not need to provide $5,000 of incentive spend in order to achieve similar results. It just needs to remove the inconvenience and fear from repairs and maintenance.

      • 0 avatar

        If Mitsubishi can do stupidly-long warranties, I’m sure VW could take the hit as well.

        • 0 avatar
          Lorenzo

          The problem is VW squeezes its dealers to reduce/deny warranty claims. That’s part of the reason for the drop in sales.

        • 0 avatar
          sportyaccordy

          Mitsu is a zombie company. Plus they dont have to worry about warranties, they make money on all the interest of their subprime customers, and then just take the cars back when they default. VW’s customers have better credit and other choices.

    • 0 avatar
      thornmark

      THey should just say they don’t want to become a “Nissan”, i.e., a marked down discount brand. The Koreans seem to be a move up from Nissan these days.

  • avatar
    HerrKaLeun

    I agree with them cutting prices is not the right way. What they need to do is keep the cars “a bit more premium than toyonda” and have similar quality. If that is given, the prices are justified.

    I hope their new MQB will help. but I’m a bit concerned with their engines (that won’t necessarily change with MQB (most motors are offered in both MQB and old platforms).

    They also need to offer a 5-year warranty (no need to match the fake HK non transferable power-train warranty for year 6-10). and they need to get a grip on their dealers. the only time ie ver went to a VW dealer they were the msot shady Kia territory and all cars already had the “$650 duPont fairy dust paint protection” applied.

    another issue are the high-cost maintenance requirements (and the fact delaying one service by 5 miles will break the car). All the expensive fluid changes, timing belts etc. are not acceptable. Regular people that are used to $40 dealer oil changes and minimal other maintenance cost get a heart attack when they need to pay VW services.

    If they deliver all the above, current prices are justified. (i know I’m just an armchair product planner, but that is what the Internet was invented for :-)

    • 0 avatar
      CJinSD

      New 2015 Passats start at $15,990. Brand new 2015 Jettas can be had for less than $14K. Look at Cars.com if you don’t believe me. The market isn’t fooled into thinking that a VW is as good as a Toyota or Honda, only a few advertising puppets. Driving up in a Volkswagen mostly elicits sympathy.

      • 0 avatar
        HerrKaLeun

        i looked on cars.com. At 30 mile radius over $17K. At 100 mile radius $14,450 for the 2.slow . Even extending to 500 miles didn’t lower the price (and driving 500 miles would defeat the purpose of saving a few hundred $. And it isn’t clear if the dealer then will add his “fees”. All based on $18,465 MSRP.

        But I get your point. and resale will be a bitch. Even if those prices are bait&switch, anyone buying my 3 year old Jetta will compare to those cars.com prices.

        If nothing else, I’ll use them next time i buy a car as research and negotiation tool. I’m glad you provided that link.
        the prices reflect current quality of the cars, my request for them was to make them better and then they could command closer to MSRP.

      • 0 avatar
        LectroByte

        > New 2015 Passats start at $15,990. Brand new 2015 Jettas can be had for less than $14K. Look at Cars.com if you don’t believe me.

        on cars.com, he cheapest Jetta I found within 100 miles of here was pretty close to 18K, the cheapest Passat was just over 20k. You could be right though, no idea on how VW dealers wheel and deal, the last VW dealer I was at kept trying to deal on monthly payment in spite of the fact I was a cash buyer. Ended up in a Honda Civic instead.

      • 0 avatar

        @CJinSD: that is true. My coworker bought a brand new Jetta for $15000 – he still thinks that VW makes premium car . He was so happy. He leased CC before that and also got exceptionally good deal.

  • avatar
    Fred

    Toyota chased the numbers and I think they are still stuck in the discount mode. Worse yet is Chrysler and Chevy who can amass a lot of inventory without discounts.

  • avatar

    As long as there are a healthy pipeline of ’12 Jetta SEs w/Convenience with 20-35k miles, Cornsilk Beige interiors, prior paintwork, and tiedown/rocker damage to choose from, I’m happy.

  • avatar

    In Brazil the problem is a little different. Other makes have risen their prices and VW has in effect lowered theirs a bit (and is offering some cash on the hood right now), but they have very little content in comparison so yeah in reality they are still stupid expensive and the distance between them and leaders Fiat and GM is widening.

  • avatar
    CarPerson

    1. No viable products in the hottest segments.
    2. Clearly downmarket when parked next to others in same segment.
    3. Dealers barely hide disdain when selling you the vehicle.
    4. Dealers display greatly exaggerated gnarly disdain beginning 1 second after you buy.

    So, how’s that working out Volkswagen?

  • avatar
    mcs

    The real problem is the names they use for their cars. They need to rename them VW-1, VW-2, VW-3 etc. to give a premium feel for them. Maybe move their headquarters. Okay, that probably won’t work…

  • avatar
    Mandalorian

    What they really need is a spin-off SUV/Crossover sub brand. Like what Citroen did with the DS line, but with 5 or so SUVs/Crossovers of varying sizes and abilities. Call them Panzers or something, it would make the news.

    • 0 avatar
      Richard Chen

      Alltrack, perhaps? That wagon is coming next year, perhaps a Gofl 5 door AT as well? There’s the CrossBlue next year and refreshed Tiguan the year after. Subaru has of course used this model to great success, being able to pare their product line to a literal handful of offerings.

      I see that Mazda is going this route: upcoming CX-3, the current 5, rumored 7 & 9. Heck, they quietly removed the Mazda2 from mazdausa.com. No problem, they’ll just sell rebadged 2’s through Toyota dealerships and not have to worry about marketing.

  • avatar
    SELECTIVE_KNOWLEDGE_MAN

    VAG dominates in Europe and absolutely owns the largest market, Germany. It is the biggest player in China, is already the largest passenger car maker in the World and about to be the largest car maker as well. VAG has no reason to cater to the American audience any more than what is already done.

    You thought GM acted arrogantly when it was the largest car maker in the World? GM has nothing on VAG. Warranty claims on faulty DSG transmissions in smaller European countries are met with a totally new level of arrogance until national television networks pick up the pace. The image of being a car that is “a little better than your average car” while not being “snobby” strikes the perfect balance in our time. Nothing can stop the VAG.

    • 0 avatar
      Luke42

      Nothing is able to stop VW, except for their cars!

      I used to own a 2001 VW Jetta with the ZF 01M 4-speed automatic transmission. I owned it when it was only 6 years old anh had a only 100k miles on it – which makes it the youngest car I’ve ever owned. And nothing stopped my VW like a 50k-mile gearbox!

      To put that in perspective, the oil-change interval in that car (TDI) was 10k miles. That means that those gearboxes only lasted 5 oil changes. I loved my VW, but it just wasn’t built well enough to handle the American duty cycle — so I own and drive Toyotas (and Fords) now.

      Fix that, and put something interesting under the hood, and I’ll be camping out at my VW dealer for new models like they’re the Apple store…. Until, then, there hain’t not in’ wrong with my Toyota.

      • 0 avatar
        Jacob

        So, VW is then another company on the long list of companies who produced unreliable 4-speed automatic transmissions back then. For example, 6th gen Accords had problem transmissions as well as the 96-07 Ford Taurus. There were probably many more examples.

    • 0 avatar

      “Nothing can stop the VAG”

      Are you sure? They did not invade Russia yet.

  • avatar
    RHD

    “We need to cut somewhere, but we shall not be cutting pricing!”
    “How about cutting content?”
    “We have done that, do it some more. What else?”
    “We can cut quality…”
    “Very well, do that, and cut dealer attitude more. The Americans must love German engineering whether they want to or not!”

    • 0 avatar
      sgeffe

      The sole VW dealer’s “service” department in my area was spotlighted (and not in a good way) in “Motor Trend” after the DSG in one of their long-term TDIs (a Jetta, I think) blew its top whilst being driven back to CA. The repair was delayed numerous times, and the interior had been “detailed” to crap! (I think the dealer had the car SIX WEEKS if memory serves!)

      This dealer was so bad that Pontiac pulled their long-standing franchise several years before the brand’s demise. My Mom’s experiences when having myriad problems fixed on her Emm-kay-Four Jetta 2.slow made her thankful that a SUPERB indie Euro mechanic with all the latest and greatest tools for each major kraut car line is just up the street! (Of course, with her 2007 Civic, she’s back to content! ;-) )

  • avatar
    EAF

    Nothing automotive pisses me off more than having to remove the ENTIRE front clip to gain access to a routine maintenance item. There is no other make, that I can presently think of, that requires this level of disassembly. For this reason alone, VW owner’s pay DOUBLE.

    I’m not an engineer but this theory of “parts working together and being perfectly integrated” is utter nonsense, IMHO. VW parts break because they are poorly designed and are of inferior quality, it is really plain and simple.

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al From 'Murica

      BMW Water Pumps

    • 0 avatar
      Luke42

      Agreed +100

      I integrate computers for a living. You Don’t use a stethoscope to make parts work together — you design them correctly.

      You write “interface contracts” between engineers, you estimate your reliability, and examine how you’re going to make your SLAs. The one thing you don’t do is foist off your responsibilities onto field ops and hope they can fix your oversights. Yes, people who can fix your mistakes in the field are respected craftsmen, but it’s still abdicating your responsibility as an engineer to make $#!t work right the first time.

      This “making parts harmonize” idea is totally bogus in a universe with 21st century manufacturing tolerances and systems integration practices. The guys who want to do it the old fashioned way should be repairing old clocks, not designing automobiles.

      Anyone who uses that argument when trying to sell me a car in going to get a vary good look at my bald spot — as I walk away, laughing and shaking my head….

    • 0 avatar
      WheelMcCoy

      “… Front clip …”

      On a similar note, I believe the Porsche Boxter has its oil fill in the trunk. Not so good as men are …ah… prone to drip, as some women might say. You really need to line the trunk during an oil change to protect it. I’m guessing the design justification here is that the Boxter is a mid-engine car and this is the trade-off for balance and handling.

    • 0 avatar
      Ryoku75

      Nissan Rogues require the whole front clip to be removed just to change headlights, same for third gen Taurus.

      2nd Gen Focus? That one needs the front removed to access the air filter!

  • avatar
    TOTitan

    I dont know about the unreliable claims. I bought my daughter a new Rabbit (Golf) in 08 for 17K. Seven years later it has 115000 miles. So far I have replaced the rear brake pads once, the tires once, one headlight bulb and one tailight bulb. Thats it….no other repairs or malfunctions, and she lives off a dirt road on a farm which beats the crap out of it.

    I bought a new sportwagen tdi in 12. After the warranty ended the AC started getting intermittent. I replaced the refrigerant control valve for $49 and its ice cold. That is the only repair so far. One thing VW does better than anyone else who makes small cars, is the way they handle and drive. No one else come close in driving dynamics.

    • 0 avatar
      wmba

      Well, my best friend had a 2010 TDI Sportwagen on a 4 year lease. A rear spring broke, the DPF failed and VW wouldn’t repair it under warranty, and the rubber door seals were useless. That was his fourth VW in a row.

      His wife has a gas 2011 Golf 5 cylinder. He leased a new Mazda3 last May. Every weekend they toddle off to their country estate, a 200 mile roundtrip and they alternate cars. They prefer the Mazda3, better steering they say (non-car people), and its lifetime fuel consumption at 6.2 l/100km is the same as his old falling apart TDI Sportwagen and on cheaper fuel. I ask them if the Mazda is noisy on the highway and they look at me as if I’m asking a question from left field – so enthusiasts aside, the difference is too subtle to register.

      • 0 avatar
        Mandalorian

        The only acceptable way to travel to a country estate is via a Land Rover, Rolls-Royce or Bentley product.

      • 0 avatar
        TOTitan

        Sorry but Mazdas, or any Asian car dont drive and/or handle like VW’s

        • 0 avatar
          CJinSD

          You’re darn skippy. A VW handles like an Asian car with a quarter ton of lead under the hood. That wasn’t the case thirty years ago though. My MK 2 Jetta weighed 2,216 lbs and drove like it weighed 2,800 lbs. Now, a GTI weighs 3,100 lbs and drives like it weighs two tons, which people that probably shouldn’t be driving at all confuse with luxury.

          • 0 avatar
            TOTitan

            I disagree with CJinSD. My daughters 08 Rabbit can embarrass any Asian car in its class on a twisty road, on a rough road, and can haul more stuff while doing so. Yea the 2.5L is kinda boat anchorish but its never missed a beat and still runs like the day I bought it.

          • 0 avatar
            Fordson

            “Now, a GTI weighs 3,100 lbs and drives like it weighs two tons…”

            Find a link to anyone but you who says that. I’ll wait.

            And consider sticking to decaf.

      • 0 avatar

        The danger of reliable (?) by anecdote. My mk 6 TDi has had zero issues save one exhaust valve flapper valve, fixed quickly and under warranty. 78k and counting. 39 mpg.

        My Acura ? By anecdote, a lemon. According to ME, Acuras are poorly designed with a crappy dealer body..

        A happy buyer tells few. The unhappy buyer paints “lemon” on the car and parks it in front of the dealership.

  • avatar
    wmba

    Ferdie had the cure. Phaeton MkII!

    Current GTI and A3 sold in North America have the cheap cylinder head version of the EA888 Gen3 gas 2.0t engine. DI only, no electronic thermal management system and no variable valve lift. The VW also has an out-of-date satvav screen from the parts bin compared to European new big screen models. So, they cheaped out this time on the unseen parts. Whaddya expect for $25K?

    My VW Audi years were spent looking forward to the next service. They ran well after a service, a real delight, gradually dulling until it was time to service them again. Of course, there were bright days between services when something unexpected broke. An early service! Great! It would always run better after a new muffler and tune-up and mufflers were only lasting 18 months anyway. New starter motor? Sure, and a tune-up. Would run damn well for a couple of weeks.

    A winter beater 8 year old Subie Warthog wagon showed me that an ancient Japanese car was more reliable than a new Audi, except for bodywork.

    Just sat in a new GTI again. They really are too small to have four doors, because when I’m sitting comfortably and look left, the damn B pillar is in the way. That’s how I judge a decent car now – I don’t want a B pillar in my field of view, which also makes egress a contortion because you have to exit from a hole hemming in your left shoulder and across a wide sill as well. So it’s two door or something of decent size or design in the first place.

    VW will never work out what North America needs. They’ve had more than 55 years of practice and haven’t seen the wood for the trees. That’s unlikely to change anytime soon. The trouble with the VWAG pyramid scheme approach is that eventually you run out of customers who haven’t heard about the problems.

    • 0 avatar
      tedward

      Wmba

      The gti doesn’t have the port injection but it does have variable lift and thermal management. To be honest it sounds more like you aren’t a compact hatch customer, that b pillar thing is a function of vehicle class, the focus and three are no different. I think the gti at 26ish is a ridiculous deal. I agree about the nav screen, its a component that has a huge effect on interior presentation, something that vw otherwise does a phenomenal job with.

      • 0 avatar
        wmba

        Well, somewhere I found proper technical paper on the engine from a 2010 engine conference in France, i believe, which of course I cannot re-find. It goes into the thermal efficiency of the engine depending on various factors. All I can find is just part of the the slide presentation from it which you can find here (and other places):

        http://forums.vwvortex.com/showthread.php?6984506-What-Happened-To-The-Dual-Injected-EA888

        Quite clearly show the simpler thermostat, simple cam and no MPI on EA888 engine from Silao, Mexico for the US. Of course, the 2015 GTI actually had engines from Germany, so maybe the modular approach allowed them to fit VVL. One guy on the forum insists it does but offers no proof.

        The Performance Pack on the GTI goes from 210 to 220 hp, but the Audi A3 already has the 220 hp version, which I had assumed was the Variable Valve Lift, since Audi claim to have invented the technology. Do you know otherwise?

        What about the electronic thermostat versus the simpler one? There are at least two different cylinder heads.

        So, I’m not convinced you’re correct. You may be, but please point me to an authoritative source which updates VW’s earlier pronouncements.

        So far as my not liking a compact hatch with squished door sizes, you’re right – that’s what I said! The Impreza hatch/sedan doesn’t suffer this problem, but then, it is 12 inches longer.

        • 0 avatar
          HerrKaLeun

          interesting link. and i noticed another problem based on that slide… timing belt.

          • 0 avatar
            Fordson

            Whoops. No VW engines with timing belts for quite awhile now…

            Of course the new GTIs have VVL…that’s one reason they are rated at 258 lb/ft rather than 207 with the old engine.

            You guys with the mk4 horror stories…you realize they stopped making them ten years ago, right? Just checking.

    • 0 avatar
      hreardon

      wmba – the new A3 and GTI have the variable lift, but the MPI dual injection system is not included. Everyone seems to think that this is an example of the US market getting shafted, but MPI does very little outside of help comply with some of the EU emissions requirements. The argument that MPI helps avoid carbon buildup has yet to be proven out as fact.

      Woman in my office is on her second Passat (NA spec) lease as of last week. Her first one ran three years and 36,000 miles with a few oil changes and that was it. Co-worker has had a new A3 for the past year and loves it, minus an annoying rattle in the headliner that nobody can seem to fix.

      2016 Golfs get the updated, larger navigation system. Thank goodness.

      My point is – regardless all of our well deserved bashing of Volkswagen, they’ve learned their lessons. Implementing the changes is happening now, but is going to take some time. Just look at Audi, where I would argue that their product was junk up until the latest generation MLB product from 2008 forward.

      • 0 avatar
        wmba

        Read my reply and link above.

        You should try googling problems with the Lexus IS250 V6, which is DI only. It has had major carboning up problems that lead owners to distress. The IS350 with D4S has NO such problems. If that’s not proof, there are literally dozens of SAE papers on the coking problem. The fix, so far as it actually might work, is large galleys in the crankcase to minimize pressure differences between crank throws, and essentially an oil catch can on the PCV assembly, plus cooled EGR. And if you spend money, dual injection as well.

        Is the EU emission test actually tougher than the US one? I cannot find any official VW pronouncement on the matter that requires MPI in the EU for that reason, just anonymous people on VW forums that say this is the reason. Pity that none of the other VW gas engines are thus equipped!

        MLB wasn’t even announced till 2012. Which 2008 Audi has MLB?

        I don’t feel much like cutting VW slack, and I’m glad for future owners that the new big screen satnav is coming for 2016. Let’s hope it’s the real high-rez one and not just a bigger screen.

        • 0 avatar
          JD23

          All B8 A4s, A5s, Q5s and derivatives are built on the MLB platform. You must be confusing MLB with the second-gen MLBevo that will be the underpinning of the upcoming B9 generation.

    • 0 avatar
      formula m

      @wmba I know what you mean. I owned a Jetta and the only thing consistent about it was the rate of which it deteriorated.

      I was driving next to a BMW on the hwy and I had to search to see if someone was driving the car. He was completely hidden behind the B pillar and he wasn’t even tall.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    Come on, they already gave us McVolkswagens (sized for fat Americans with cheap beam axles) but they say they draw the line at cutting prices?

    Oh sure, now is the time to “get religion.”

  • avatar
    dr_outback

    I now work as a service advisor for a VW dealership. I find the clientele to be of a substantially different mindset than my previous experience with Subaru, Mitsubishi, Hyundai and Kia owners. VW owners are very attached to their vehicles and I have had to quickly learn that many of my customers have emotions that run very deep about their cars.

    Regarding warranty claims, I have yet to see a legitimate claim not covered. In fact, I’ve seen VW extend goodwill coverage to out-of-warranty vehicles, even if the vehicles maintenance has been neglected or done elsewhere.

    VW has also offered warranty extensions on common issues. Recently I had a customer that had a rust perforation issue on several panels and the repairs were covered without an issue. The vehicle has a rust perforation warranty experation of 8/2015.

    • 0 avatar
      Kevin Jaeger

      I’m surprised to hear of a rust issue on a VW. While reliability may be no better than average here in Quebec VWs usually show outstanding resistance to corrosion. Could you share what model, approximate age and what region this happened in?

      • 0 avatar
        dr_outback

        ^It was a 2005/2006 Jetta, nearing the end of VW’s rust perforation warranty in August 2015. The warranty is based on the inservice date of the vehicle. The car was originally from NY, and then sold in south central PA. The car had rust perforation of the right rear quarter panel near the wheel arch, right front fender above the wheel arch, and along the front edge of the hood.

        Our body shop fixed it under warranty and I delivered it yesterday. The paint blending was well done. The customer was very pleased to go from several rust perforations the size of a grapefruit to a nice looking used Jetta.

        • 0 avatar
          Big Al From 'Murica

          So it had rust through prior to the expiration of the corrosion warranty and VW fixed it. Good Job.

          • 0 avatar
            dr_outback

            A previous post mentioned that VW denies legitimate warranty claims.

            Since there are many stories of manufacturers denying rust warranty claims or making it difficult for customers to get rust issues covered under warranty, I decided to relate a seamless customer experience for a VW rust perforation warranty coverage.

        • 0 avatar
          Robbie

          My 2006 Rabbit just had two fenders replaced under warranty. They rusted even though the car has always stood inside. It took me a full year of prodding the dealership, with the guy in charge systematically refusing to pick up the phone. Blending was not included. It taught me that I may want to reconsider buying a new GTI.

        • 0 avatar
          formula m

          Maybe they where having a hard time denying grapefruit sized rust holes under the warranty date. My experience when people have minor rust issues the dealer will try to ignore it until the warranty expires or the customer gives up. By the time they are grapefruit sized and multiple it should be long out of warranty. Just some of my experience as a service advisor.

  • avatar
    Prado

    Well, if VW doesn’t want to price its products competitively, then I guess they will continue to be a niche player. There is no reason that a Golf, made in Mexico, should cost more (transaction prices) than a better equipped Accord. Is it any wonder that sales of what is there best and newest product sucks. Total Golf family (Golf/GTI/Wagon) sales last month were about 5,500. Pathetic. I thought bringing production to Mexico was done so that they could price the product more competitively.

    • 0 avatar
      hreardon

      Prado –

      They have. First of all, Golf sales are the highest they’ve been in years (not saying a helluva lot, I know), but Mexican production is allowing VW to put substantially greater content into the GTI and Golf than they did in the past. Case in point, VW candidly admitted that without localized production there would have been no chance of the Performance Package or Chassis Control options being offered here.

      Localized production is more about improving content and profit margins than it is about lowering prices. I guarantee you that the current Jetta and Passat would sell in greater numbers if Volkswagen hadn’t neutered the vehicle content as they did. But, Volkswagen thought consumers wanted less expensive cars and they also were in desperate need of generating a profit on North American operations – so out the door went the content.

  • avatar
    dr_outback

    ^It was a 2005/2006 Jetta, nearing the end of VW’s rust perforation warranty in August 2015. The warranty is based on the inservice date of the vehicle. The car was originally from NY, and then sold in south central PA. The car had rust perforation of the right rear quarter panel near the wheel arch, right front fender above the wheel arch, and along the front edge of the hood.

    Our body shop fixed it under warranty and I delivered it yesterday. The paint blending was well done. The customer was very pleased to go from several rust perforations the size of a grapefruit to a nice looking used Jetta.

  • avatar
    Cabriolet

    I have no idea why people think VW has a poor warranty problem. If you want to see a company that will not cover any warranty claim try Subaru. After you buy the car all they will offer is pound sand. Subaru will not cover that or this and you are left holding the bag. New Subrau’s are now using a lot of oil sometimes a quart every 200-300 miles. Subaru will put the owner thru a so called oil test. Final answer is thats normal. Subaru has been like this for years. I have owned VW for years and have never had a warranty claim refused. Even after the warranty expired they covered it under customer goodwill. I understand that Subrau owners have a class action suit filed over the oil problem. I have my car serviced every 10,000 miles or once a year and the oil change, filter & tire rotation including state inspection is only $69.00. (NY State inspection is $37.00) I could not do it cheaper myself. And for the tale of the $400.00 fluid change for the DSG transmission. I just did my wife’s car in 45 minutes at a cost of $105.00

    • 0 avatar
      wmba

      I got a fair number of sway bar and rear suspension bushes under Subaru warranty on my 2008 LGT, five in total. And They told me about the rear suspension, I had no idea.

      Nothing else went wrong until the 6th year of ownership, so warranty didn’t apply. Then the usual spate of wheel-bearing failures, and a failed transmission cooler pipe on my dime.

      The oil drinking problem on the FB engine? Well Honda is being sued on Civics and already relented on Accord 4s. They have the same infamous oil consumption test as well. Water for oil and low tension piston rings are an industry wide problem, especially as by no means all engines develop the problem in the first place.

  • avatar
    dr_outback

    ^At my dealership a 10k service, with tire rotation, drain plug, crush washer and Castrol synthetic oil runs between $116 and $138 with tax depending on the engine type. There is also a Castrol $20 rebate that is available.

    I have customers that service their DSG transmissions every 40k and are going on 160k miles with no issues.

    Goodwill has its limits and it helps if you’re a good customer and don’t make unreasonable demands.

    I have also worked with Subaru and my former parts manager told me that if oil use is excessive, Subaru will cover an engine. The reason for the excessive oil use is that some engines with factory filled synthetic oil have oil control rings that did not seat as expected because synthetic oil provides outstanding wear protection and the engine was very lightly broken in.

    From an engineering point of view, oil use does not indicate that the engine will fail any sooner than an engine not using oil.

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al From 'Murica

      So why skip the RX8 for a VW then?

    • 0 avatar
      Luke42

      Or I can just skip the whole thing and get a car that will go a hundred thousand miles on oil changes before its first real repair, like our Prius.

      Those are the goalposts.

      • 0 avatar
        dr_outback

        I test drove a used Prius 3 years ago, and considered buying one during the “Sudden Acceleration” farce of a debacle. But I didn’t like the way the cabin materials feel. But I realize that Toyota had to do that to save weight.

        • 0 avatar
          Luke42

          My Prius is old enough that I sometimes get a whiff of the Cessna smell when I open the door. It must use some of the same lightweight plastics than Cessna used.

          I liked my Jetta and it’s leather seats and sunroof, but I respect my Prius with its interior by Cessna. My Jetta was an expensive maintenance w#0re. My Prius is a tool that gets us through the day. There came a time whet I had to choose between the two, and we chose ditch the Jetta and its high maintenance fun — and keep the Prius for its everyday practical value.

          Oir Prius is paid off, and the gas and maintenence savings paid off the price premium years ago. It keeps on giving reliable and efficient service, and I have every reason to believe we’ll keep reaping the savings for years no come. It’s boring to drive, and has a well worn interior that would onry be an upgrade to a Cessna — but I will choose that over my hellishly expensive VW ownership experience every day of the week.

          I like a car with a comfortable interior, good driving dynamics, and a terquey little diesel engine. But I won’t suffer for the privilege — financially or otherwise.

          • 0 avatar
            dr_outback

            I like VW interiors and their seats are really supportive and well bolstered. The switch gear is simple and I don’t notice any excessive wear like I used to see in the early ’00’s.

            The combination of a TDI and DSG makes for an expensive 40k maintenance service, but if customers drive manual transmissions, the cost of the 40k maintenance is a lot less.

            I think the real issue comes down to the salesman weighing the pros and cons of a particular gearbox and engine combination BEFORE the customer purchases the car. Some people really like knowing they own a very complex vehicle with a state-of-the-art gearbox, others could care less.

            I find that my Audi customers do not even twitch when dropping nearly $3k for tires, alignment, and brakes on their Q7’s. But VW customers range from give-me-everything-for-free-I’ll-still-be-dissatisfied-with-you-but-I-will-still-keep-bringing-my-vehicle-to-you, to, let’s-do-everything-the-vehicle-needs-and-I-will-also-pay-for-it-to-be-cleaned.

    • 0 avatar
      LeeK

      My 2006 Element’s clutch wore out at 112,000 miles. Cost to replace at an independent shop: $1500. My VW dealer charges $350 to do the 40k DSG service. If the transmission lasts more than 120,000 miles my out of pocket cost for a DSG-equipped GTI will be less than what my Element’s transmission has inflicted on me. Will the GTi’s transmission last that long? Only time will tell, but I keep my cars ten years and then either sell them or give them away to family members. I have a feeling that the DSG unit will soldier on until that turnover time, costing less than the super-reliable Honda has in that category. I could be wrong, but VAG seems to have sorted out the early teething pains that plagued the mechatronic units and complaints in the VW forums have diminished.

      • 0 avatar
        dr_outback

        The mechatronics issue was before my time with VW, but years ago a friend of mine had an issue with his DSG mechatronic unit.

        I have seen original DSG’s with 165k miles or more on them. I have also seen the 6 speed auto equipped cars with more than 160k on the original transmission.

        The FSI engine the last gen Passat use a lot of oil, but I have seen many of them in excess of 160k miles. At that point it’s not a mechanical failure rendering the vehicle useless that the owner should be worried about, but more so a minor collision that will still ‘total’ the vehicle.

        • 0 avatar
          JD23

          It’s anecdotal, but the mechatronics unit in the B8 S4 has appeared to be particularly problematic, at least in the first few years of production.

          • 0 avatar
            dr_outback

            I am scrambling to learn about all the nuances of VW’s, Audi’s and Porsche’s. So I’m not sure what the models years are for the B8 S4. My background is primarily in Subaru.

          • 0 avatar
            LeeK

            The B8 series of Audi S4 is 2009 to present.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    VW needs to emulate the Hyundai-Kia recovery plan, which took a decade. Once successful, then you consider re-introducing products like the Phaeton.

    But VW’s arrogance won’t allow it.

    • 0 avatar
      dr_outback

      The Phaeton was and will be a waste of engineering time and money.

      Oh and the W8 Passat was also a waste of engineering time and money.

    • 0 avatar
      Luke42

      +10

      That’s what it would take for me to buy a VW again, and I’d really love to own one again.

      If VW wants to combat the perception nhat you should never own a German car out of warranty, one option would be to extend the warranty to industry-leading levels. Once I can me assured that a VW would run for 10 yea without breaking the bank, I might be inclined to consider owning one.

      But didn’t VW try this before and didn’t it end with them taking themselves to the cleaners?

      My Jetta was my most and least favorite car ever. Take away the maintenance expense and expense, and I would love it again!

      P.S. I,m probable the least maintenance averse person I know, but eve I have limits. My Jetta wan off the charts in terms of expense and poor repairability.

      • 0 avatar
        LeeK

        Luke, dude. We’ve discussed this before but you keep bringing it up on every.single.vw.article. You had a Diesel Jetta from the awful Mk IV era that you bought when it was over five years old. It was a wretched car, no disagreement. But time moves on. VW quality has steadily improved statistically over the past decade. Consumer Reports puts them mid-pack in an industry that is moving as a whole upwards with ever-increasing reliability. So does JD Power, and so does True Delta. Believe whatever statistics you want or not, but VW is doing exactly what you have repeatedly asked in numerous posts — quality has improved remarkably from the dark days of the early 2000s when they were deservedly dead last. Will they ever catch Toyota/Honda/Mazda? No, never. But the difference between the very top of today’s reliability chart and the very bottom amounts to one extra repair visit every other year, on average.

        I own three Hondas. None of them have gone to 100,000 miles without a repair. My 2006 Element just burned a $4000 hole in my pocket for repairs and wear items in the past year. Do I hold Honda up as a great purveyor or junk cars on the public? Of course not — it’s what I expect for a daily-driven vehicle. I believe your standard might be a wee bit unrealistic and there is no way VW or really any manufacturer can meet that quality level. But you really need to let your VW experience recede into the past with no malice. Buy another one in the future or not, but projecting one poor experience on all future designs is a disservice to the brand.

        You come across as a really likable guy and I agree with 95% of your posts. We both work in the IT industry so our backgrounds are similar. But you have to let your VW anger go, man. Just let it go.

        Submitted with all due respect.

    • 0 avatar
      30-mile fetch

      I agree, a 10 year warranty would be a strong gesture of confidence in product quality. They might be able to get away with it for volume models like the Jetta, Golf, Passat. I don’t want to know what the 10-year warranty costs would be on a 10 cylinder diesel Touareg, though.

      • 0 avatar
        derekson

        The Touareg already has a 10 year/100k mile powertrain warranty, though they only offer V6 gas/TDI/hybrid models now.

        • 0 avatar
          30-mile fetch

          No kidding? I thought that was one of their least reliable models.

          • 0 avatar
            LeeK

            The first generation Touaregs were quite evil as they, like their Cayene and Q7 sisters, were quite complicated machines. But they have settled down enough to be on Consumer Reports’ Recommended List. The second generation variants of these cars began in 2011 (confusingly called T3 as there was a refresh in 2009 which got dubbed the T2) all have 10 year power train warranties. The gassers are rock solid. The diesels had a problem with the adblue tanks that was fixed with software and in some cases replacement of the tank and heater assembly.

            It doesn’t really matter, as the Touareg sells in smaller volumes than the much more expensive Q7 and Cayene. It highlights a point that brand image is one the VW struggles with and fighting it out in the trenches with the Big Boys is never going to amount to much in the U.S. Market.

  • avatar
    sportyaccordy

    I bought my wife’s 07 Rabbit with 80 or so K miles and it’s been pretty problem free for the 30K miles we’ve had it. As long as VW keeps making the Golf and Golf wagon I’m OK. Hoping to replace it with a GSW SE 1.8T lease once the Rabbit turns over 150K. With an APR chip, Neuspeed suspension, some sporty tires and brakes and HIDs it will really be a jack of all trades.

  • avatar
    JSF22

    Wouldn’t Mr. Klingler’s strategy have made more sense a few years ago, when VW’s volume cars were real VWs, had some high-end features and excellent driving dynamics, and their idea for competing against the Asians was to offer a lot more car for a little more money? Unless I’m mistaken, they just went to great effort to re-engineer the Passat and Jetta to take out much of the most desirable content, making them drive like every other boring car, so they could cut the prices to match the Asians. Charging a premium price, for cars no better than the competition, with a horrible reputation for bad reliability (whether still justified or not) doesn’t seem like the formula for success.

  • avatar
    Delta88

    This is the most tedious comment thread I’ve had the displeasure of browsing through for a long time. “My friend’s girlfriend’s stepmother had a 2002 Beetle that exploded over and over again horribly disfiguring the poor woman to the point that the VW dealer would just lock the doors and turn out the lights whenever they saw her in the service lane. I would never buy one of those money pit/death traps!”
    Three VWs bought over the last seven years. About 110k miles driven in total among the three. Two repairs (one was a sunglasses holder latch the other a loose suspension piece rattling)

    • 0 avatar
      Drzhivago138

      So are you saying your anecdotal evidence trumps everyone else’s anecdotal evidence?

      • 0 avatar
        30-mile fetch

        Anecdotal evidence wars are the bread and butter of VW threads. But actual data from CR and TrueDelta are more supportive of Delta88’s anecdotes than they are of anecdotes from 10 years ago or whatever being forcibly applied on current VW models.

        • 0 avatar
          Drzhivago138

          Okay, see, that’s valid. I have no horse in this race–I don’t necessarily see VWs as any less or more reliable than the next car outside of any measurable data points. My friend’s ’87 Jetta was a complete POS, but that was more because he bought it for $750 than because it was a VW.

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    “If you don’t want a Volkswagen for $23,000, then we’ll sell you one for $23,000!”

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