• Jul 18th 2007 at 3:02PM
  • 92
VW's has strengthened its position in Europe as the leading brand, claiming more than 20% market share. In the US, though, VW sales have dropped by an average of 25,000 cars every year for four years, and the company has lost close to a billion dollars each of the past three years. Stefan Jacoby, the former head of global sales and marketing who raised the firm's Euro market share, has been put in the top US spot in order to achieve one goal: breaking even in the US by 2009.
Blame for the slide can be attributed to a variety of factors (and we're sure you readers have plenty of theories about what's wrong with and how to fix VW), but unless they figure out how to get them right, the feeling is that VW could leave the US market. It's almost impossible to believe that the company known for fun, funky cars that drove until the wheels fell of, two cars that have been famous for decades around the world (Beetle and Golf), deep brand equity, and fervent brand loyalty would have to grab its wurst and head back home. Yet the situation was summed up by one exec as: "For the first time in some time, the phrase 'If we are to stay in the U.S.' precedes a lot of conversations at VW."

[Source: Business Week]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 8 Years Ago
      Want a good snapshot of "the people's" impression of VW? I don't mean what enthusiasts think, but what the average man (well, usually woman in VW's case) on the street, who bought a VW because they're "cool" or "cute" and knows NOTHING about how cars work, thinks?

      Go to http://www.carsurvey.org/model_Volkswagen_Jetta.html

      Click on any MY from 2000-2005. Read any of the hundreds of genuinely pissed-off comments from Jetta owners, and try to keep track of how many contain some version of the phrase "I WILL NEVER BUY A VW AGAIN." Some of the comments are truly hilarious.

      Window regulators, bizarre electrical problems, transmission failures, and engine problems are absolutely EPIDEMIC in these cars. Not to mention little annoying crap like center consoles that break and coating that literally peels off of interior components like the door handles (at least that "premium german interior" looks nice, right?)

      THIS is what the general public thinks, and what VW needs to overcome. "Going upmarket" and charging higher prices for less attractive/cool/cute vehicles is not a good first step.

      BTW I'm not connected to the carsurvey.org site at all.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Audi was close to leaving the US market in the 90's- a model revamp and the price-buster A4 has made Audi US stronger than ever.

      It can be done... Imagine leaving the US market and wanting to come back. Alfa anyone?
      • 8 Years Ago
      The main problem with VW pulling out, is who's going to fix the cars. The dealers will closing their doors or looking to sell something else. Jobbers will stock parts for a while but no for long. VW had problems when they decided to no longer be "The Peoples Car" Resurrecting the old Beetle was a contradiction to what the Beetle meant to people.
      • 8 Years Ago
      When I was in the market for a sport compact, the SVT Focus had more value than the VW GTI. For the price, Ford had it beat. The Focus still has Golf/Jettas beat by a far margin, especially if you're buying used.
        • 8 Years Ago
        The problem with VW isn't the car - it's the lousy company that stands behind the car. I have a 2004 Passat with Analog OnStar which will become unuseable at the end of the year. The car is still under warranty and they said that it wasn't their problem and that nothing could be done. VW Customer service use to be legendary - now it is again - but for the wrong reason. This is the last VW (I've had 6) that I will ever own.
        • 8 Years Ago
        1337: Not true. The Ford Focus ST is still a rival of the GTI. They just don't sell it in the US.
        • 8 Years Ago
        Well, I loved the C&D article - the first time to get results at Virginia INt'l Raceway, and the Cobalt SS smoked both the GTI and the Si. So while I'd rather have a focus, there is an heir apparent American hot little car.
      • 8 Years Ago
      I have owned VW's and Audi's for 7 years. Can't do it anymore. The cars nice, fun to drive but unreliable. Hate the arrogant dealers and overpriced repairs. My next car will be a Lexus... never thought I'd say that.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Buy the VW diesels.

      From what I understand, those are assembled in Germany, not in Mexico. I frequent a forum dedicated to TDI drivers, and I've never heard of these problems from anyone with a diesel VW.

      I've certainly not had any problems with my 2005 Jetta Wagon, and the dealership has been good. But I'm in Canada. I don't know if this 'pull out of the U.S.' thing even impacts me.
      • 8 Years Ago
      I have owned 9 VW's (1 MK1, 3 MK3's, 4 MK4's, 1 MK5). All of them were reliable. I always took care of my cars, so maybe that helped a bit. The MK1 and the MK3's were the most reliable. I had a few minor issues with some of the MK4's (one had a window regulator fail, one had a wheel bearing go out), but other than that they were great. They were ALWAYS driven hard and never let me down.

      To echo some of the other statements, VW's problem is their dealer network and overpriced/overweight vehicles. I think quality on the MK5 is great. I like the interior in my $18K rabbit more than my $32k Saab (which is supposed to be luxury). Will VW be in my future, who knows. I just sit here with dreams of a Lupo GTI dancing in my head.

      VW: Please bring your small cars, Polo GTI or TDI, Lupo/Fox GTI or TDI, that's all I want, am I really asking for too much?
      • 8 Years Ago
      Boy ! Just your typical american bully when the guy is down let's finish him up.
      Just ridiculous.
      Today's Vplkswagens are not your grand father's bug that listed for $1995.
      The new VWs are sofisticated, solid and better quality than many other makes out there.
      There isn't another company that offers a product as distinctive and luxurious as Volkswagen and reasonably priced.
      So to all you people out there that probably never experienced a VEE DUB go buy your Giappanees or Corean blender because that's what you can afford and besides it's probably the only ride you would look good in it.
      Jonathan Hicks
      • 8 Years Ago
      VW should not leave the US and Canadian markets. VW should stay.
      • 8 Years Ago
      i just sold an 01 beetle gls for 10k. i paid 16k new. 6yr old car w/43k miles and it depreciated 6k. that car held its value. i have an 04 navigator that has lost 25k in value since i bought it. i know all the problems about quality regarding vw. but they hold their value.
        • 8 Years Ago
        Especially true of diesel and GTI models.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Among other things, I surtainly agree with the comments about engines.

      Why not offer more of their models (read; Polo) and why not offer a lot more engine choises in existing already "in market" offerings. This seems to be a very simple solution to something that's high in demand.

      Some people seem to think that VW is in trouble financially and that they simply don't have the financial muscle to do anything about their situation, surtainly nothing could be further from the truth. It's only in the US sales are suffering. Profits globally are up and so is production.

      This have to be a matter of a some kind of "do we really want to do this" mentality.

      In some markets in Europe as much as 60-70 % of cars sold by VW (and others) are diesel powered.

      VW is the worlds 4th biggest automaker and THE biggest diesel engine manufacturer so there shouldn't be any problem supplying the US market also, should there?

      VW sells a lot of different diesel powerplants to other manufacturors as well (Chrysler, Volvo etc.) and has done so for a long time. But they don't use them themselves in the US. Why, one have to ask?

      • 8 Years Ago
      At the current exchange rate they should probably leave the US market and offer more Audis in the US. The cost to manufacture an Audi is not much higher than to build the VW equivalent, but the revenue is higher. So I4 A3s and A4s instead of Golfs, Jettas and Passats probably make more sense.
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