Pocket Full of Miracles: VW Needs Divine Assistance to Hit 1 Million U.S. Sales

TDIMeister

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Pocket Full of Miracles: VW Needs Divine Assistance to Hit 1 Million U.S. Sales


Miracle No. 3. Americans need to fall in love with diesels.
VW is diesel-heavy in Europe. It’s not doing badly in the United States with the diesel Jetta wagon, either. However, it’s one thing to fill a niche and another to take diesel mainstream. That’s going to require a lot of Americans to forget what they remember about the smelly, smoky, underpowered diesels of the 1980s. Modern, clean-burning diesels are none of those things, but most Americans don’t know it yet. The last time diesels dominated sales for German imports, it was thanks to two oil embargoes and diesel fuel that was cheaper than gasoline.
 

FredIA

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The upcoming new Jetta TDI is bigger, lower tech (suspension) and looks like a 1990's Toyota, IMHO. It likely will get in the high 30's to low 40's best combined since it's heavier.

Yet, for example, Ford is coming out with it's twin turbo DI gas engine "Ecoboost" that will be a mid-high 30's MPG vehicle in the Focus platform.. has the independent rear suspension, looks like a 2012 vehicle and not a stripper '90's vehicle... At about the same projected cost as a Diesel Jetta. If Ford offered the European Diesel here it would absolutely be a no brainer for a TDI replacement for me in a couple of years. As it is if Diesel stays $0.50/gal higher permanently as it appears to, added to the increased maintenance costs of the Diesel engine and.. hell.. for the VW (their parts and service cost significantly more than a Ford does and so far has needed more service than any other make of vehicle I've owned @ 40K).. I'm thinking of a Focus Ecoboost instead. It's still high-tech, efficient and fun and they will offer it in a manual...

I think if VW wants to sell 1M cars they could first start by making a more reliable product and not try to dishonor every warranty claim that comes about. I know of many one-two VW owners that say "never again". I'm almost at that with the Routan I have also. Just about every change VW did to that van to "make it a VW" has been problematic and recalled.

The quote about the VW's being a "prom queen" really sums them up long term. And the new upcoming American Jetta is butt ugly in my opinion. Pity.. despite all of its faults (plenty for a 40K vehicle so far).. I do really still like my TDI: but mainly its because the way it handles. The new one won't handle as well.

I'm sure I probably will get killed by all of the fanboys here.. but it's the truth.

Fred
 

rocketeer928

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"That’s going to require a lot of Americans to forget what they remember about the smelly, smoky, underpowered diesels of the 1980s."

I don't necessarily agree with this quote unless the older guys are telling their sons and grandsons that diesels stink and pollute.
 

Dooglas

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"That’s going to require a lot of Americans to forget what they remember about the smelly, smoky, underpowered diesels of the 1980s."

I don't necessarily agree with this quote unless the older guys are telling their sons and grandsons that diesels stink and pollute.
How many "older guys" ever drove an Oldsmobile diesel (or one of the few Chevs and Cadillacs that received the same engine)? For that matter, how many ever even saw one? I'm with you. This is a statement that auto media writers always put in their diesel articles to sound knowledgeable without really knowing what they are talking about..
 

dubStrom

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Smelly?

ALH is more than a decade old, and it was pretty garned clean. Pumpe duse was better, and common rail is even quieter and cleaner, for two years now!

They have not been smelly or smoky for more than a decade. That has little to do with the "perception". My theory is that the additional torque isn't understood. Non-turbo diesels were really for the patient human. In general, Americans are neither patient or insterested in ANY sacrifice(these days).


Uh...
C.A.R.B. hasn't helped things, making TDI more complicated and less efficient with every step through the engine series. I hate that. I think I'll buy an old ALH and rebuild it.
 

Driver_found

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Don't forget about the Mazda diesel arriving for 2012. Its about to get really complicated in the U.S., as far as deciding what to buy next.
 

oilhammer

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There are just too many to list....
Don't forget about the Mazda diesel arriving for 2012.....
I'll believe that when I see it. That sounds like all the other vaporware diesels that were supposed to be here:

Focus
Accord (then TSX)
Subaru
Mini (Toyota supplies their diesel)
Mahindra trucks
Kia Borego (even had one of those at the NAIAS two years ago)
Mitsubishi (MIVEC equipped and all!)

And the ones that DID actually come here were either canned shortly thereafter (Jeep Liberty), are being canned now (Jeep Grand Cherokee), or are limited to a very select few due to high-priced mandated "option" packages (BMW 3-series and X5, MB E, R, ML classes, Sprinter, Audi A3, Q7, etc.)

Since Mazda is splitting from Ford, we'll have to wait and see what they actually do on their own once again. There has not been a "real" Mazda sold here for quite some time, save for the goofy/expensive/niche RX-8 and the Miata/MX-5, the latter of which uses a Ford engine. :cool:

While I do think diesels in general have a place on our roads, and could help immensely with general reduction in fossil fuel use, Volkswagen cannot put all that on upping the sales here. Although I think right now it IS their one and only trump card. Too bad they either cannot or will not play it out, nor seem to back the product up.
 
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Nocky

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All I ever hear from people after I tell them I have a diesel is how much more I have to pay for fuel.:mad: I have only seen diesel lower than gas once in the last few years. They need to tax gas so it is a little higher and start people thinking of what else we can use in the near future. If you raise the tax on diesel all that does is make everything we ship be it train, truck, boat, more expensive.
 

VWBeamer

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All I ever hear from people after I tell them I have a diesel is how much more I have to pay for fuel.:mad: I have only seen diesel lower than gas once in the last few years. They need to tax gas so it is a little higher and start people thinking of what else we can use in the near future. If you raise the tax on diesel all that does is make everything we ship be it train, truck, boat, more expensive.
People are mathematically challenged. fuel is still cheaper per mile for the TDi even if Diesel cost more.
 

oscarmv

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How much more expensive anyway?

I dunno about other states, around here (NOVA) Diesel has consistently been slightly less than premium for probably almost a year now. I don't consider that to be a big deal.
 

TDIMeister

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All I ever hear from people after I tell them I have a diesel is how much more I have to pay for fuel.:mad: I have only seen diesel lower than gas once in the last few years. They need to tax gas so it is a little higher and start people thinking of what else we can use in the near future. If you raise the tax on diesel all that does is make everything we ship be it train, truck, boat, more expensive.
Off-road Diesel fuel is not taxed at the same rate as on-road. I agree though as far as on-road fuel is concerned, gasoline and Diesel should be taxed at the same rate. In this case, gasoline taxes should be brought UP to match that of Diesel fuel.
 

dubStrom

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Slight price pressure and memory of diesels being slow, and yet every time someone realized I was driving a Jetta TDI they would act surprised and comment about good things they've heard, Then they buy a Toyota or a Honda.

Now, they marvel at the nice shape, great paint, and all of the standard features on my new sportwagen (heated mirrors?, and seats? wow!). Then they go over to Toyota and get a 'scared gas pedal discount'. 25city, 30mpg highway doesn't look bad when fuel is under $2.50 per gallon and the car costs $4000 less.

It is like the diesel option is not on the radar.
 

Hollywood

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With all the emissions requirements forcing the TDI mpg's down and the Ford ecoboost running regular fuel, it will be hard to compete. That said, VW has also been upping the HP numbers unnecessarily as well.
The new Jetta is said to have a lower starting price, we shall have to see what the TDI option costs, if it is too much the market will let them know.
I personally like what I have seen of the new bodystyle and think that the fords are hideous.
 

German_1er_diesel

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With all the emissions requirements forcing the TDI mpg's down and the Ford ecoboost running regular fuel, it will be hard to compete. That said, VW has also been upping the HP numbers unnecessarily as well.
Ford has 4-cylinder ecoboosts in the Mondeo and the minivans in Europe - they don't compete well with the diesels economy wise.
 

PlaneCrazy

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Ford is coming out with it's twin turbo DI gas engine "Ecoboost" that will be a mid-high 30's MPG vehicle in the Focus platform..
Well that's nothing to brag about. My Passat 2.0T wagon (6-spd manual) easily gets mid-to-high 30s mpg. Highway, at the speed limit (100 km/h true, 103 km/h indicated), this morning, on the wider 17" tires I'm running, I got 34.8 mpg (6.8 L/100 km). On the stock 16" wheels I would easily get 36 mpg (6.5 L/100 km). My average on this tank so far is 32 mpg (7.3 L/100 km).

With the 70 liter tank, I can get 1000 km/tank on road trips with about 50 km of reserve. And this on a much bigger and more practical car than a Focus.

I thought I'd really miss the TDI it replaced ('04 JSW). I do, but not nearly as much as I thought I would. With the kinds of numbers I'm getting, 200 hp, and an almost TDI-like torque of 207 lb-ft peaking at 1800 rpm and lasting flat all the way to 5000 RPM, what's not to like? :D

That said, I think Ford is on a roll these days. No government money, topping the quality ratings, the new Fiesta is a sharp little car as will be the new Focus (finally the correct Euro one), and the Fusion being a great mom-and-pop midsize, make up a great product range. But I'd love to see a real station wagon, rather than their bloated "crossovers" like the Flex.

I'll reserve judgment on the new Jetta until I see the numbers. It's marginally larger, but it might not be significantly heavier. The current Jetta weighs in almost as much as a Passat: 1482 kg for a Jetta sedan, 1503 for a Passat sedan. That's only 21 kg (46 lbs). So I doubt the Mk VI fuel consumption will be much worse than the Mk V.
 

oilhammer

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There are just too many to list....
Ford has 4-cylinder ecoboosts in the Mondeo and the minivans in Europe - they don't compete well with the diesels economy wise.
No, but when you don't actually have diesels to compete with, other than "exotics", then the competition rarely gets started.

Remember, Volkswagens here are like Ford Pickups there.

A customer/friend of mine, who is a Catholic priest and of German heritage (he was born and raised in Bonn) had to chuckle when so many VW enthusiasts here were making a big deal out of the then-new Pope being a Golf driver. Simply because, odds are, EVERYBODY in Germany either owns, has owned, or knows someone close (immediate family member, friend, coworker, etc.) that owns a Golf. A Golf, not just a Volkswagen. I have heard figures in the neighborhood of 10% of every car on the road in Germany at any one given time since 1975 is a Golf. Not sure if that is true, but being that the Golf is one of the top sellers globally, and is a rare sight in the USA despite this being THE largest single car market on the planet, it would seem that somebody is buying a whole lot of them! :D
 
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PlaneCrazy

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No, but when you don't actually have diesels to compete with, other than "exotics", then the competition rarely gets started.

Remember, Volkswagens here are like Ford Pickups there.

A customer/friend of mine, who is a Catholic priest and of German heritage (he was born and raised in Bonn) had to chuckle when so many VW enthusiasts here were making a big deal out of the then-new Pope being a Golf driver. Simply because, odds are, EVERYBODY in Germany either owns, has owned, or knows someone close (immediate family member, friend, coworker, etc.) that owns a Golf. A Golf, not just a Volkswagen. I have heard figures in the neighborhood of 10% of every car on the road in Germany at any one given time since 1975 is a Golf. Not sure if that is true, but being that the Golf is one of the top sellers globally, and is a rare sight in the USA despite this being THE largest single car market on the planet, it would seem that somebody is buying a whole lot of them! :D
The funny thing is that the Pope's Golf was.... drum roll... a 2.slow and not a TDI!!!

Now I'm sure what you say about Golfs is correct... for either the diesel Golfs, or the basic 1.4 or the 1.6. I bet 2.0s are as rare as hen's teeth in Europe!!!

I'd actually like to convince the wife to ditch our rusted out old Odyssey and try to find a used Golf CL, basic model, roll-up windows, 2.0. They can be had for under $10k now. This would be our 3d vehicle instead of the Odyssey. My son wants to learn to wrench cars; I have a VAG-COM... a Golf 2.slow would make sense.
 

German_1er_diesel

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A customer/friend of mine, who is a Catholic priest and of German heritage (he was born and raised in Bonn) had to chuckle when so many VW enthusiasts here were making a big deal out of the then-new Pope being a Golf driver.
I think we can be absolutely sure that Pope Benedict never was a Golf driver.
I have heard figures in the neighborhood of 10% of every car on the road in Germany at any one given time since 1975 is a Golf.
Hm... 10%?
I just looked at the numbers - in January to May 2010, 9.74% of all new cars in Germany were Golfs.
Not sure if that is true, but being that the Golf is one of the top sellers globally, and is a rare sight in the USA despite this being THE largest single car market on the planet
The second largest actually.
 

LRTDI

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If another journo pushes out the oldsmobile argument against diesels again, I'm going to transport them back to the 1980s and have them work as journo's using IBM golfball typewriters for a couple of years and see how they survive.

I hadn't noticed that the Passat was barely heavier than the Jetta. Leaves me speechless that we don't have the Passat Tdi...
 

German_1er_diesel

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Passat: 84.2% diesel (numbers I have are for April 2010)

These are the sales numbers for the most important cars in Germany in April.
Diesel share is indicated...


Source is KBA.
 

TDIMeister

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^^ >99% Diesel for VW T5 and Fiat Ducato. It would be cool if we had those proportions in work vehicles here. But we don't have Diesel fuel anywhere from 20-40% cheaper than gasoline...
 

domboy

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This quote is rather annoying:

Miracle No. 3. Americans need to fall in love with diesels.
VW is diesel-heavy in Europe. It’s not doing badly in the United States with the diesel Jetta wagon, either. However, it’s one thing to fill a niche and another to take diesel mainstream. ...
Well yeah, I guess the percentage of diesel Jetta Wagons sold is higher, but I'm pretty sure the total number of Jetta TDI sedans sold is a significantly higher number.

On top of that, according to the may sales figures posted at hybridcars.com:

http://www.hybridcars.com/hybrid-clean-diesel-sales-dashboard/may-2010.html

The Jetta TDI is the second most popular so-called green machine in the US after the Prius. Let me say it again - the second most popular green car is a diesel, not another hybrid. It outsold the Fusion Hybrid (3rd place) by almost double (4,347 vs. 2,486). It's done this in two consecutive months at that (hybridcars.com started including diesels in their sales dashboard in April). I think the TDI is doing rather well. Yeah, it may not be mainstream, but nothing other than straight gasoline is at this point. So I'm not sure what his point was.
 
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German_1er_diesel

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^^ >99% Diesel for VW T5 and Fiat Ducato. It would be cool if we had those proportions in work vehicles here.
The only gas engine in the T5 is the 2.slow... and a gas-powered work truck would look quite bizarre in Europe.
But we don't have Diesel fuel anywhere from 20-40% cheaper than gasoline...
20% is a long time ago... in 2008 diesel and gas were about the same, now it's a 10-15% difference.
 

ruking

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I often wonder what has been, still gets and will continue to get, LOST in the TRANSLATIONS in the American market VW TDI's !!??

IF a VW (Golf) is one of the most ubiquitious cars (BRANDS) in Europe

a. 1/5 drivers have had one
b. up to 99% of the European drivers population as DRIVEN one

THEN
one has to ask if the owners TOLERATE the lack of reliability and almost total lack of quality VW dealer ship experience
OR
are VW's more reliable and durable and experiences an almost STELLAR (in comparison) dealership experience?
 

German_1er_diesel

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I haven't heard any terrible stories about VW dealerships in Germany - VWs are everywhere, therefore we have lots of dealers, affordable parts, affordable service, etc.
A Volkswagen in Germany is the most conservative, risk-free choice you can make, if you like to blend in.
 

TDIMeister

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Where I used to live in Germany, the Dutch came over to fill up their gassers and Germans went to fill their Diesels :D Super95 was usually 10 cents cheaper in Germany and Diesel 10 cents cheaper in Holland. Fair trade. :D The ratio there really is close to 40%.
 

ruking

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I haven't heard any terrible stories about VW dealerships in Germany - VWs are everywhere, therefore we have lots of dealers, affordable parts, affordable service, etc.
A Volkswagen in Germany is the most conservative, risk-free choice you can make, if you like to blend in.

To add to the mix, I have also read that European drivers (who obviously have driven both) have also said the net effect is that American market VW's are even MORE reliable and durable than even European market VW's !! ??? So in that sense VW corp folks scratch their (collective) head (along the lines of picky picky Americans??)
 
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FredIA

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Ford has 4-cylinder ecoboosts in the Mondeo and the minivans in Europe - they don't compete well with the diesels economy wise.
But if Diesel stays at 15% more (like it here is in the Midwest), the amount of service required is less (as it appears to be vis a vis VW TDI), and the service and supplies are cheaper (which they are for a gasser)... economically I'd say for America (since Diesel taxes are higher, and upkeep is higher) that it will be a wash to a small net positive for the "Ecoboosts".. we will see.

I sure wish someone else would come out with a 4-cyl TDI Diesel to compete with VW though. I know this is a VW site: sorry to insult the group.. and I own two VW's now.. but I sure wish next time I could buy something else... the problems I've had with the car (not engine) at 40K and 4 years old have been unacceptable and comparibly worse than every other car I've had including the Kia. -- Plus I almost always have to pay the fix the issues despite the 50K warranty. And the Routan van is charting the same course (there's been like 10 recalls on it.. most related to the retrofits that VW has done to VWize the thing). I'm not impressed with VW's.. they look cool...but...

The problems I've had with the DMF/clutch (which VW won't fix and I will need to probably within 10K miles-- with a SMF done by a guru), rear brakes wearing out at 36K with 90%+ hwy driving alone point to poor design and quality.. I can go on...that and the minor stuff like glow plug harnesses (at least VW fixed that one gratis)...XM radio not working about 10% of the time.. rough idle that goes away with AC being turned on.. you name it.. if it's been reported here... my car does it or has it wrong.

This compares to my "evil" Explorer that I had that the first service I had to do on it other than routine was at 75K... brakes were fronts at 90K rears at 106K.. well.. you get the idea here...

Fred
 
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