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General VW Discussion This is a place for General VW topics (the company, not your vehicle). General topics about a specific vehicle should be posted in the General TDI Dicussion Forum sections for that vehicle platform. A4, A3 & B4, B5, etc.

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Old August 27th, 2001, 09:00   #1
ksharrington
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Default Ferdinand Piech as biggest idiot in auto industry

I realize this is big claim with the brain trust in charge of Ford right now but give me a moment and hear me out.

Disclaimer: Proud owner of a 2001 Golf TDI

How many people will be alienated by VWs move upscale? The Car Connection has a pretty good article on this. VW Stalks the Upper Class

VWs core competency has always been affordable, reliable cars that usually have a quircky feel. We are now looking at an almost complete reversal of that competency.

We are only a few months away from a US$40,000 Passat. Is there anyone else that is upset about this? I am feeling abandoned as a lower-end VW owner. Let's face it, who is going to buy one of these? There is nothing to distinguish the Passat from any number of other cars on the market today. If they offered a TDI, that would at least be one differentiation. I can even buy an M-Class for the same price, with almost enough left over for a Kia. Or two Accords with enough left over for some new Callaway Hawkeye VFT clubs.

Look at what is in the pipeline for VW. Microbus (direct from VW website: "Would you pay $35,000?"), SUV (do you really think this is going to be under 35k?), D1 (to compete with the E-class and S-Class, once again, not under 35k) and the redesigned Golf and Jetta ('We're trying to move the mkV more upscale.').

Does VW and Piech really think I will pay $35k for a minivan!?! That's enough for a stripped Odyssey and almost enough left over for a stripped Civic.

Gentleman (and ladies), the present is pleasant but the future is dim.

What about Audi? Doesn't this sound a lot like GM a few years ago? Everything they had went upscale and then Cadillac gets crowded out of the market. Lets face it, the VW in 5 years is the GM 5 years ago. There will be little diffrentiation between brands, even Seat is moving more upscale.

Volkswagen will be a nice acquisition in a few years for any number of companies:
1- GM, they will have finished fixing what they screwed up so they will have experience for VW. They also need a stronger presence in Europe
2- Toyota, they could pay cash and not feel a thing.
3- Fiat, they are always willing to pay too much for too little

These are some of the reasons why Piech is an idiot. Not to mention some of the purchases he should have made: Jaguar, Land Rover, BMW?, Hyundai.

Cheers-KSH
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Old August 27th, 2001, 09:57   #2
Beowulf
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Default Re: Ferdinand Piech as biggest idiot in auto industry

If the new stuff is crap, then don't buy it.
Pick up an old A3 Jetta or even a Rabbit (there are millions of them still on the roads today).

It's better for the environment if you buy a used car anyway.

As for VW's move upscale, I agree that it betrays the concept of what I think of when I think of the "People's Car", er Volkswagen, but there are only so many windmills we can tilt at.
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Old August 27th, 2001, 10:09   #3
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Default Re: Ferdinand Piech as biggest idiot in auto industry

i feel the same, ksh.
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Old August 27th, 2001, 11:11   #4
truman
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Default Re: Ferdinand Piech as biggest idiot in auto industry

How about the deal Piech made to buy Rolls. He buys Rolls' antiquated production facilities, but not the Rolls name. BMW comes in later and buys the name for a pittance. So which would you rather have- a Bentley made in the old factory or a RR built by BMW? [img]images/icons/rolleyes.gif[/img]
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Old August 27th, 2001, 11:29   #5
BlueBugTDI
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Default Re: Ferdinand Piech as biggest idiot in auto industry

VW wants to get in on the $10,000 to $15,000 profit that Ford and GM makes on their top shelf Lincolns, Caddies, and SUV's. How can they do that? Why not build bigger cars and trucks and inflate the price to the area where the American makers are at. The problem is that they are moving away from the core market that they were founded to serve with the "people's car".

In some respects it is good to see that they are advancing into new territory, but where does it leave most of the rest of us? Give it a few years and the Polo will be the same size as the current Golf.

I just wish that VW would have focused on a V-6 or small V-8 TDI in a mid sized pickup that gave mid 30's MPG instead of the V-10 that probably won't, and will probably cost $45,000. [img]images/icons/mad.gif[/img]


-Tim [img]images/icons/confused.gif[/img]

[ August 27, 2001: Message edited by: BlueBugTDI ]
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Old August 28th, 2001, 00:53   #6
ksharrington
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Default Re: Ferdinand Piech as biggest idiot in auto industry

Beowulf- Thanks for the feedback. Always welcome from a non-flaming point of view.

However, I didn't use the word 'crap'. I think the initial quality is comparable to any number of companies building cars in this segment of the market. The engine and transmission seem to be bullet-proof.

Most people buy their first car from a company because of initial quality. They purchase subsequent vehicles for how they were treated by dealers and long-term quality. Some of the brands ranked higher for customer satisfaction for dealer service: Oldsmobile, Chevrolet, Chrysler. Volkswagen was not even ranked. JD Power Dealer Service Piech should improve the existing dealer network before trying to sell a $40k car. How many times have we read in this forum and Vortex about loyal VW owners jumping ship because of poor service?

30 years ago, VW made cars that were simple; aka, not much to break. Now they have tacked on and tacked on until the stuff they have tacked on is so complex as to be unreliable. Lets face it, if you want a truly bullet-proof VW, don't get any options. If we were to take a survey of problems with VWs on this forum, I feel very confident that the majority of problem components will be option related, ie. window regulator for power windows. Would you spend $40k for a Mercedes competitor from VW when they can't even get the windows in their cars to go consistantly?

Now for the big question, will I purchase another VW? Yes, but with VERY few options.

I guess my core point is that if you want a dependable car that could survive a nuclear blast, get your car now because the future does not seem bright. At least in the USA, of course Europe will continue to get dependable VWs with 23 choices for diesels. [img]images/icons/wink.gif[/img]

I would leverage the Audi name plate for this exercise in conspicuous consumption, NOT Volkswagen.

Regards-KSH
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Old August 28th, 2001, 08:09   #7
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Default Re: Ferdinand Piech as biggest idiot in auto industry

No flames were intended.

I didn't mean 'crap' exactly, I was shooting more for 'stuff'. Personally, when I think of VW I most certainly don't think of chrome passats with power everything or $30,000 - $40,000 pickups and mini-vans.

If VW moves away from what I want, I'm not going to buy them. It's very sad because I've owned exactly one VW and love it and would love to buy more, but am not going to pulled along by the nose.

VW needs to stay close to its roots: small spartan cars that handle well and have a lot of character.

Just my 2 cents.
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Old August 28th, 2001, 08:50   #8
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Default Re: Ferdinand Piech as biggest idiot in auto industry

Like I've said more than once on this Forum, our German friends don't understand anything about Marketing, never have done and aren't actually learning very fast. VW is no exception.

Germany has traded for years on high-quality engineering and engineered products, but with the rest of the world having played "catch-up" in a big way over the past few years, they've lost their relative advantage / USP in that area. Their natural tendency towards a degree of arrogance (that's not meant to be offensive in any way, I assure you) has caused them to remain somewhat aloof from marketing matters, but they have now begun to realise that proper Marketing is an essential part of the strategic sales armoury nowadays, and are on a learning curve. They've come out with all manner of statements (all hype and little substance) over the years in the UK and Europe about moving up-market product-wise, but essentially nothing's changed, fortunately. Personally, I can't see them moving away from their real roots - they'd have to change the Volkswagen name, for a start! VW is also highly-dependent on VOLUME sales (= masses of small cars) and high European market share - this is what their factories are set up for, unlike BMW's.
My guess is, that with the SUV/MPV market tailing off markedly (VW is, arguably, trying to join it far too late in the day), the N American and world economies in a somewhat questionable state in terms of furure growth, fuel prices in the US likely to rise significantly in real terms, with average car sizes probably getting smaller, we could even see Polos (which are currently about the same size as the Mk 1 Golfs) starting to be imported, something which VW could easily do as gassers and with the existing US-version TDi engine. I can't see Lupos coming in, though.

If only Ford would introduce the Focus as a diesel, the whole diesel market over here would be opened up massively.

VW's N American Customer Service ideas and dealer networks will have to undergo a metamorphosis before any real progress can be made in this market. The cars are good, but choice is dreadfully limited, and you can't go on expecting to sell premium-priced product with such a $hit-awful Customer Service setup.

- Richard

[ August 28, 2001: Message edited by: Richard P ]
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Old August 28th, 2001, 21:25   #9
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Default Re: Ferdinand Piech as biggest idiot in auto industry

Every time I see a gasoline car ad on TV, I sit back and think of all the ways a counter-ad from VW about their TDi would go. They started doing more advertising lately, why no extend it to their whole line? Why limit it to just the New Bettle, GTI, and Jetta? I can think of easy-to-understand, clean, and quick advertisements for the TDI...and for all the other VWs for that matter. Why bother going "upscale" when the most everyone in the US thinks of VW is the Bug and their old vans??? Sure, they sell Jettas hand over fist...but it's no excuse to let the other models sit still.

Sorry for ranting...heh, I'm usually pissed about car companies advertising too much rather than not enough...
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Old August 29th, 2001, 02:54   #10
steve-p
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Default Re: Ferdinand Piech as biggest idiot in auto industry

<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Richard P:
VW is also highly-dependent on VOLUME sales (= masses of small cars) and high European market share - this is what their factories are set up for, unlike BMW's.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

You are right about volumes, but don't forget that the aquisition of the Skoda and Seat brands allows VW to greatly increase the number of cars built on each floorpan, and to effectively drive down the R&D recovery rate on shared powerplants and transmissions, and consequently the price to the consumer. I don't believe that VW should be pushing upmarket either. If anything, the Audi brand would be more suitable for that. However, I think they know what they are doing when it comes to smaller cars. There was a recent quote from someone at VW who stated that while the Skoda Octavia was to all intents and purposes a different shaped Golf, people were prepared to pay a large price premium for the Golf version, just because the VW brand is perceived to have more quality, in the EU at least. However they are not really in the same part of the market as BMW or Mercedes, and I doubt they would ever be successful there. Audi is.
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Old August 29th, 2001, 09:02   #11
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Default Re: Ferdinand Piech as biggest idiot in auto industry

I am dissapointed with the upscale move, but it seems to be with all automobile manufacturers, not just VW. The corolla is always getting fancier and fancier, just like the honda civic. Where can we go to find cheap small cars anymore?!

I blame this partially on the NHTSA and EPA regluations, among others. With airbags, reinforced side beams, CFC-free refridgerant, our wonderful EGR systems, etc., it is costing manufacturers more to build cars in the first place.

It use to be that a small/cheap car could be built just like that: small and cheap. Nowadays, by the time you lump on all the crap for government regulations, the manufacturer is spending 50% of the build-cost on the above mentioned crap. It's bound to be a minimum of $5000 (in retail dollars) in every car just to meet these darn regulations.

So by the time they spend $5000 on crap, and another $5000 on building a barebones car, the cheapest car we can find is $10,000.

But why stop there? For $12,000 you can have twice the car as $10,000.

I guess what I'm saying is, if $5000 of the car is just thrown away, then making a cheap car is no longer a viable option. May as well move upscale I guess . . .

But ya, I don't like it either.
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Old August 29th, 2001, 09:38   #12
banzai
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Default Re: Ferdinand Piech as biggest idiot in auto industry

I'm not going to spend 40K on a VW-
The reason I tolerate a lot of the little problems that my NB has is because it cost 1/2 of some of the cars I was considering.

Japanese cars have raised everyone's expectations- why not?

Even Korean car-makers are going upscale- I kinda like the looks of some of the newer Hyundais (noflame!)
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Old August 31st, 2001, 11:24   #13
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Default Re: Ferdinand Piech as biggest idiot in auto industry

In regards to mandatory add-ons, now comes the mandatory tire pressure warning systems that will be coming in the next few years. Now we all are going to have to pay for the idiocy/negligence of people who don't want to get their fingers a little dirty.

As for the $40,000 VW, I consider that right up there with a $40,000 SUV - give me a Benz or Bimmer (or Infinti from the looks of that new Skyline-based screamer - I35 maybe?) any day.

[ August 31, 2001: Message edited by: gfunka ]
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Old September 3rd, 2001, 18:32   #14
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Default Re: Ferdinand Piech as biggest idiot in auto industry

You see to be forgetting that this move 'upmarket' is actually working - look at the sales figures.

Robin
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Old September 3rd, 2001, 20:09   #15
chopchop
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Default Re: Ferdinand Piech as biggest idiot in auto industry

<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by galileo:
You see to be forgetting that this move 'upmarket' is actually working - look at the sales figures.

Robin
<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Yes, but don't forget that the rest of the market is also moving upwards specification- and refinement-wise, and so to my mind, in
relative terms, VW's positioning is remaining more-or-less constant.

The sales figures are improving world-wide because the other big names are all mired to a greater or lesser extent, and because of VW's Tdi leadership. Look what the Europeans are buying - more & more Tdis, to a greater extent than overall market uplifts in the % of diesels.
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