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  #1  
Old 02-02-2003, 10:26 PM
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Location: St. Albert, Alberta, Canada
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Lunch with Audi/VW sales manager...

Had lunch with an old friend I haven't seen for some time. He's the sales manager for a relatively busy Audi/VW shop.

Boy, did he give me an earful! They have sold 1/7 of their Passat W8 order, and the last one went out below cost to get the deal. Dealers all over Canada report the same thing. The W8 is a dog, and they can't move them.

He calls every customer to find out why they lost the sale. Most strike the VW off their list when they discover the BMW 525i is priced the same, or find the C320 4-matic for the same price as the W8. Granted, neither has an 8, but who cares?

He also thought the W8 was nuts being priced similar to the A6, and managed to save some deals putting people into A4's or A6's.

He can't stand the new move to take VW upmarket. They're not reaching the right customer base for the VW logo. Hey said it's tough enough to get the S-Class/7-series buyers to come look at the Audi A8 (sold with HUGE discounts), much less get them to consider a $100,000 VW.

He thought that the VW products should be priced right on top of the Accord/Camry cars, and that Audi should undercut MB and BMW buy a couple points. They are selling Jetta's and base Passats like crazy, but he's already seeing a dent from the new Accord. Honda's pricing is too aggressive, and the Jetta looks overpriced, and the Passat isn't even close. A base four banger Passat is priced like an Accord EX V-6 with leather.

Word is getting out about shoddy quality too, with some real negative long term reviews from R&T, etc. Lots of New Bettle customers returned their leased cars and went back to Civics/Accords etc. He was talking about huge lines of lease back VW products at dealer auctions, way below residual values.

It was an interesting afternoon, with some insights from the "trenches."

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  #2  
Old 02-03-2003, 09:13 AM
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they are in deep yogourt

the w8 engine has been exposed as a "limited run" design because of all the internal politics at VW-Audi. there are Audi designs that overlap and eventually the Audi engines were to have become the winner over a 2 - 3 year time frame. they keep going back and forth though and last i heard they have a VW w12 with 600HP as their AMG and M Series killer. their biggest problem right now are the coils on recent cars with single coil per cylinder setups. there is a high failure rate and cars are sitting for weeks waiting for parts. they are now faced with a potential recall of more than 500,000 cars in north america because of this problem...
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  #3  
Old 02-03-2003, 10:51 AM
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Interesting topic. Not really much of a surprise on the W8. Most consumers are not really very sophisticated when it comes to evaluating an automobile. So they shop based upon the prestige of the brand. Noone is going to purchase the VW when they can get a BMW for the same price. It doesn't matter how good or clever the car is.

I drove a base Passat a few weeks ago. It's a darn nice car, very well appointed, the interior is well fitted and appears to be high quality. Much nicer than the Japanese competition. But when I started looking into the reliability, it's laughable. Dumping my troublesome E300 turbodiesel for this car would be out of the frying pan into the fire. I think one internet poster summed it up thus: "VWs look better, drive better, have better seats and higher quality interiors than a Honda or Toyota. But you have to put up with two or three extra repair visits to the dealer every year." Two or three a year! Who's willing to put up with that?

Also drove the new Accord. Overall I didn't like it. Very typical Honda, however. Impressive drivetrain. Driver's seat uncomfortable - insufficient thigh support, wrong seat bottom angle, odd lumps in the seatback. Back seat takes a cue from GM - it's down on the floor, so you sit perched on your butt with your knees pointing in the air. Ride was surprisingly bad too. It must have too much compression damping in the shocks, because it kicks hard over every bump. I didn't realize the roads around here were so rough until I drove a Honda over them.

I ramble,

- Jim
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  #4  
Old 02-03-2003, 11:59 AM
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A younger point of view:

My friends along with myself included are nuts about Volkswagen and their products.

I go to a school which is made up of automotive enthusiasts.

I wish I could show you guys the parking lot over there.

When I return from Co-op I should take some pics and post them on this forum. I have not posted a pic as of yet. I believe I now have the computer know-how to.

The parking lot is filled with Volkswagen products. The ignition coil problem is well documented and a lot of 1.8T's have been known to konk out on the highway.

Many more afluent students have this motor in their car brand of choice. Many have upgraded the ignition to an MSD "street comp" to go along with their ABT chip upgrades, enlarged downpipes and intercoolers.

I and many many many many more young people aspire to own certain VW's. The reason being that the overall design and build quality are unmatched and in line with our expectations.

I would also argue that younger consumers are less likely to get "caught up in the badge" like North Americans do, including
people found in this forum (at least most who do here admit to it)

Who the hell wants to own a C320 4MATIC with that ****ty trim and discount plastic grill (unforgiveable!!!!!!!!) when for the same money you can get the Passat W8 4MOTION with more power, higher grade leather upholstery, more exciting exhaust note and doors that actually feel good to open and close .

When I graduate my program I will put much effort in securing a
job with a rewarding future. After I succeed it that, I will work hard with a smile on my face.

I'll have my Volkswagen dealers' number on my speed dial to order that Passat W8 after I get approved credit

People will pay some big money for Volkswagens. Believe it !!!

I would enjoy being looked down upon by W203 drivers, the increased exclusivety of the W8 compared with the C is even sweeter icing on a beautiful piece of cake.

Mike McKinney
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  #5  
Old 02-03-2003, 12:17 PM
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shyne,

what's the word on how long they are going to keep the w8 around? there was an article in R&T that said that it would only be in use for 2 years, after which they would switch to the more conventional audi design. the w8 is certainly innovative and allows an 8 cylinder longitudinally mounted in an otherwise short engine bay.
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  #6  
Old 02-03-2003, 12:18 PM
Diesel Power
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Yup, VW's are still taking some lumps. At least VW appears to be admitting to the problems and is fixing them. One of VW's largest issues to my knowledge has been their abhorrent power window design. They've recently announced a redesigned assembly and are warranting all previous units to like some 60 or 70K miles. Personally, I looked at VW the same way as I do the domestic automakers. If yer gonna buy one, buy the simpleton model without all of the gizomos. It seems to me that the lion share of the complaints is coming from the GLS trim cars, where the power stuff is all standard. IMO, this is why the New Beetle is taking such a deep beating. To get ANYTHING beyond the base 2.0L four and get cruise (a necessity with me), you have to move to the GLS trim.

My friend has a 2000 Golf GL TDI. He has no power gadgets, no automatic tranny. Cruse control is standard with the TDI, and A/C is standard period. His car has been the model of solidity. His first replacement on this car has been the battery, which he blames himself for leaving the dome light on a few times, draining it each time. He heard about a relay that was giving trouble with the TDI, and replaced his with the new design relay as soon as it came out, before the one on his car had a chance to fail. That one to me qualifies as maintenance. He has some 40K on the odometer last time I was in that car.
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  #7  
Old 02-03-2003, 12:36 PM
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The current B5 Passat only has 2 years left in its live cycle. I am hoping to buy one of the last ones brand new.

The Golf V and Bora/Jetta V are coming over for 2004 as 2005 MY cars.

The B6 Passat is suposedly going to have transverse drivetrains.

To bad they were not longitudinaly mounted rear wheel drive drivetrains, they would beat Daimler-Benz Mercedes products at their own original strength (at least currently speaking).
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  #8  
Old 02-03-2003, 02:09 PM
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Re: A younger point of view:

Quote:
Originally posted by SHYNE
Who the hell wants to own a C320 4MATIC with that ****ty trim and discount plastic grill (unforgiveable!!!!!!!!) when for the same money you can get the Passat W8 4MOTION with more power, higher grade leather upholstery, more exciting exhaust note and doors that actually feel good to open and close .
Well, not sure about where you live, but our VW dealers can barely give away the W8 Passat, and our MB dealers have waiting lists for 4-matic C-Class cars.

So who? Most people it seems...
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  #9  
Old 02-03-2003, 02:26 PM
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Shyne,

I can't agree with you on this one. I had a new at the time 97 Golf base model 2.0L and it was my worst car experience ever. It left me on the side of the road 3 TIMES and eventually cost more to fix than it did to replace. The dealers (3 of them) were no help either, they didn't know how to fix them and customer service was spotty. My car had 48K when I had to get rid of it in 2000. All in all the brakes leaked, the starter died, trim pieces fell apart and the whole wiring harness in the engine went up in smoke! No complaints about the engine though, it ran perfectly.

Just as a comparison, my V6 Accord Coupe never had anything done except brakes, oil change, tranny fluid for 72K and the interior held up better too!

John,

First I feel sorry for your friend, but I was hoping to hear something like this one day. I was totally screwed by VW and cursed them when they told me they wouldn't help me with my car. I certainly wouldn't buy a VW and I'm glad they are getting what they deserve......maybe now they'll listen to their customers!
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  #10  
Old 02-03-2003, 03:50 PM
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when the passat came out in '98 you hardly ever saw one anywhere. i got a a '99 V6 and for a long time there were just two of us in the parking lot - until the day that consumer reports rated it best buy (how'd they figure that?). then it became really commonplace. the post 2000 Veedubs all have pretty faces. you can see that some of the other car makers have taken styling cues from them, most notably the new Altima.

reliability? my passat was in the shop too often for my tastes. i had it in 7 times for a leaky valve cover gasket! they replaced the gasket several times and even replaced the valve covers - they couldn't get it fixed! this was really annoying because it would drip down onto the cat converter and smoke would come into the cabin. it leaked until the day my lease expired. in comparison, my previous car, a '96 Camry had not one single problem the whole time i had it. used car dealer in town snapped it up when my lease was up - and sold it for +$4k!
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  #11  
Old 02-03-2003, 04:14 PM
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Quote:
Well, not sure about where you live, but our VW dealers can barely give away the W8 Passat, and our MB dealers have waiting lists for 4-matic C-Class cars.
Hey John,

Plenty of C Class 4MATIC's around here.

BMW 325xi has a better system and manual transmission and to me is the better car.

I'll trade you 1 C Class 320 4MATIC for


1 B5 Passat W8


Passat's W8 are doing quite well in the GTA. I hope not too well though (leave 1 for me!)

-Mike McKinney
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  #12  
Old 02-03-2003, 04:22 PM
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Afshin:

Sorry to hear about your rough ride with your Golf III.

I've heard about some bad engine fires and such from faulty ground cables on those cars.

I just don't buy cars because they are reliable. If they are, that is just an added bonus. I buy based upon the overall design. If it really speaks to me then I become smitten.

I spend a lot of my time talking about cars, working on cars, spending way more of my admittedly small amount of disposable income on my car (most if not all - hey I am a student though!) and just really only car about cars and girls.

If I wanted a trouble free ownership experience, I would promply buy a white Toyota Camry DX with manual transmission and no power accessories. I would then proceed to have my own testicles removed and then place them in a jar and put them in the basement.

Since I have a pulse, I really need cars that have personality.

Mike McKinney
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  #13  
Old 02-03-2003, 05:16 PM
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Mike,

Don't get me wrong, I liked my B5 when I had it. I just meant to contrast my experience with it as compared to the one previous which as you say had no personality. Have you checked out out clubb5.com at all? I used to hang out there when I had the Passat.

In case I wasn't clear I am not putting down Veedubs or your admiration for them for that matter. I was simply recounting my own personal experience which is factual.

Cheers
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1993 300e-2.8
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Last edited by jsmith; 02-03-2003 at 05:29 PM.
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  #14  
Old 02-03-2003, 05:40 PM
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Mike,

Have no doubt that I feel the same way as you about cars and went through the same thing you did when I was in college. I agree that a car definitely has to have personality otherwise you find yourself longing for something better. I actually had a 190E before the Golf and I wished I kept it. It also had problems but for the extra money I could have fixed it and been better off. The Golf certainly looked good, and handled perfect (Best of all cars I've had) but I couldn't deal with the constant problems it was having.

My Accord purchase was due to some serious frustration from the bad VW experience, I figured I'd be satisfied but after 1.5 years I was itching for something different. The car was ok at best but didn't really stand out in any particular way. Handling was good not great, acceleration was good not great and it looked good but certainly nothing to fall in love with.

Thats why I have what I have now. It has 7/8 of everything I'm looking for in a car. Handling could be a little better but thats pretty tough to do with a 11 year old 3800lb car. The 500E's a keeper in every other aspect.

I plan on owning a Ferrari some day and I know it won't be reliable, but I expect it considering the stress the engine is under and what it's designed for. The VW just didn't make the grade for a daily car which is what it was designed for.
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  #15  
Old 02-03-2003, 06:10 PM
mbz380se
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I'd like to ask one question though:

Why buy a Volkswagen that competes against superior Audi models when you could have an Audi A4 3.0 liter Quattro with 6-speed manual for around the same amount of money?

You'd be getting a fairly standard DOHC V-6, versus an oddball 8-cylinder engine design that has a high likelihood of being orphaned soon.

The same goes for the BMW 330xi AWD. Sure, it has 231 hp versus the 275-odd that the W8 Passat has, but Car and Driver beat a 5.8 second 0-60 time out of one (competing against an Audi S4 and a Subaru Impreza WRX).

Oh, then there's Audi again. Slightly used S4? Why not. 250 horsepower and the potential for much, much more.

Plus, the Mercedes C320 4matic has the proven SOHC Benz V-6 as used in a wide variety of models. Not an orphan engine by any means.

-Sam

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