• Sep 1, 2008
We recently received a note from an anonymous source indicating that there's a mildly strained relationship between VW and some of its dealers. The source of the consternation seems to be the highly anticipated Jetta TDI, which was just recently released in the U.S. market. Apparently, Volkswagen of America has gotten complaints that some dealers are adding a significant markup on the new and desirable model -- a big problem for many automakers when a new model makes its initial introduction. The dealers are eager to make some money on the new cars while VW is concerned that customers may just look elsewhere because they feel they're being treated unfairly. What's more, some VW dealers may not be all that excited by the new model as there aren't that many available quite yet.

This is a situation that's frustrating for the dealers, VW and, most importantly, prospective customers. Volkswagen promises that the situation will improve, and we hope it does. If the clean diesel engine is truly capable of returning the kind of fuel mileage that VW says it can, the Jetta TDI sedan and Sportwagen may indeed offer an ideal alternative to gasoline-sipping hybrids, that is, if customers can put up with the buying process.


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  • 69 Comments
      • 6 Years Ago
      I was big on the new SportWagen TDI. I had been following this vehicle for over a year. I visited my local dealership many times, put my name on the list, drove the test vehicle. When my dealership called to say they were taking orders, I drove down to put down a deposit. That was when I was informed they were going to sell them at $2k over MSRP. I walked out.

      My wife and I re-evaluated our position. A JSW would have saved us money on fuel costs for my commute to work, but it wasn't what our family needed. We ended up buying a new SUV below invoice and at 0% apr. When the interest of the loan was factored into the cost of the vehicle, the SUV ended up being about $2k more than the marked up Jetta. Yes, fuel costs more (although with diesel being $1/gallon more not as much as it would seem), but the maintenance costs are less than the TDI (stupid timing belt) and VW doesn't have a good reputation with electronics in their vehicles.

      We ended up with a vehicle that has 4WD for snow and the mountains. It is big enough to join the neighborhood carpool to school, something the JSW couldn't manage. And now we have a very nice vacation vehicle, with the capability to tow quite a bit.

      Sorry VW- you lost this sale. Too bad your dealership was so greedy they pissed me off. It looks like my idea of buying a commuter vehicle will be put off for a couple years. Just in time for the Volt?
        • 6 Years Ago
        I think it is awesome that you decided that the best vehicle for your family was an SUV. I can't imagine the amount of venom that will be spewed your way by people who think that you should have bought what they thought you should buy instead of what you wanted to buy(an SUV).

        While I'm sorry you won't be joining the ranks of happy VW owners, (closing in on 100K miles on mine with only minor, normal issues and no electrical problems, not to mention the original front brake pads somehow), I hope you enjoy your purchase and I'm sorry that your dealership decided to treat you that way.

        I plan to purchase a newer TDI in the coming years when I can afford one and when i'm in the market again, but I really doubt I'll be looking at new cars. Plus, by then, it will allow some of the newest T2B5 TDI's to work their way into the used car market allowing me to save some cash over a new one. I'm not a person who needs to own the latest and greatest, I can be patient, especially when it might save me some money.
      • 6 Years Ago
      So let's see. I sell it to Joe Schmo for MSRP. BTW, the car has as little as a $1000 of markup. Joe Schmo throws it on Ebay and sells it for an additional 2 to 4k over MSRP. It's okay for Joe Schmo to sell it over MSRP, but not the dealer. I don't think so. What I find most amusing is you'll drive all over creation to save what amounts to a happy meal on the total cost of your car, but you take no issue in getting it jammed up your keesters in parts and service. Please don't tell me about your "local" mechanic who does your work for free. Import dealers are investing millions of dollars in new facilities for one reason...more lifts!

      Lastly, our dealership also owns a Toyota store. I never see any blogs about the markups on the Prius(which is $2500 over on our lot). there was a time the Prius had a $500 rebate and special rates here in the Central Antlantic Region. Not any more.

      The laws of supply and demand control what dealers can sell any given model for. For all you profit haters, whom I sure work for free, should Chevy dealers sell their ZR-1 allotment for MSRP?
      • 6 Years Ago
      I remember this happening with the diesel Rabbits in the late 80's. I expected the same thing to happen again.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Here in Boise, there is a 6-8 month wait on a TDI Sportwagen. OUCH!!! Especially for a place like Boise which has 200,000 people living here.

      But then again, we DO have the second highest gas prices in the nation...
      • 6 Years Ago

      Economy minded VW diesel purchasers should first examine maintenance and repair costs. They will easily exceed fuel savings.
        • 6 Years Ago
        not really.
        • 6 Years Ago
        "The repair costs are negligible because i can go 300,000+ on an engine whereas a gasser will be lucky to make it to 150,000"

        What a pity the rest of the car gives up 80,000K.

        Any powertrain, diesel or gas, can manage high mileage. The question is the total package and ongoing costs. What would you rather have: a VW that can "theoretically" go a huge distance, even if it's limping for most of it, or a more reliable car that, while not as "theoretically" strong, is probably going to work for it's useful, non-beater lifetime.

        The "well, the engine block is stronger" theory of automotive quality needs to die, along with "body on frame goes forever". This metric only works for backyard mechanics and fleet managers. Most people want a _car_ that's actually reliable, not an engine that should be.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Hey gardiner, care to explain what out of warrenty issues you yourself experienced on an MKVI or B5 TDI? I had both, and experienced zero out of warranty issues at over 150,000 miles on each.

        Come to think of it, i only experienced two issues in 6 and 3 years respectively, both with the jetta, brake light switch recall and passenger window falling, that was it.

        Looking forward to your actual recent TDi experience to back up your claims, thanks in advance.
      • 6 Years Ago
      @LS7,

      ULEV is based on the average. If ULEV is 50% of the average, and 50% of LEV, how is LEV not the average?

      "A ULEV or Ultra-Low Emissions Vehicle is a vehicle that has been verified by the Air Resources Board of California, USA to emit 50% less polluting emissions than the average for new cars released in that model year. "
        • 6 Years Ago
        So to correct myself I'd have to say "number of types of cars sold" instead of "number of cars sold."
      Chris
      • 6 Years Ago
      Did any of your ever take a basic economics course? So demand for the TDI is high and availability is low, why are we surprised about a markup? I would suggest don't buy the car, however the waiting list is so long that it doesn't matter if people walk out. Buy the TDI in a year when gas goes down again and people forget the days of $4 a gallon.
      • 6 Years Ago
      It's true. In Washington DC area the Alexandria VW dealership is adding a nearly $2000 dealer markup on top of the MSRP on their new Jetta TDIs. They justify this by claiming the cars are so hot. Perhaps. They wouldn't deal with me, so I told them the dealer markup was an outrage, they could offer the car to another person instead, but NO WAY was I going to pay that. It kills the whole $1300 IRS refund incentive!
      • 6 Years Ago
      diesel is cheaper than gasoline in ontario. this just changed recently.
      i am glad i bought a 2006 jetta tdi now.
      • 6 Years Ago
      All this seems a strange marketing strategy for a company that insists they'll pass Toyota in a few more years.
        • 6 Years Ago
        @zamafir:

        You must have forgotten to put on your "Toyota can do no wrong" blinders.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Toyota dealers include markups on hybrids just as much as vw's crappier dealers do on their TDIs. I should know, i walked away from four toyota dealers when attempting to purchase a hybrid camry and highlander at msrp.
      • 6 Years Ago
      VW dealers in my area were charging above MSRP for the MKV GTI, I am not surprised!

      I went to buy a GTI and they tried to tack on a "special vehicle" levy of $2500. I walked away the minute I saw the paperwork.
      • 6 Years Ago
      I was lucky enough to snag one "un-claimed" Jetta Sportswagen TDI about two weeks ago in SF. It's my first VW and first diesel. I love it. Great pep around the city (the DSG tranny is great, feels like a manual with the bonus of not having to shift). Fuel economy was only one factor for me, including durability of the diesel engine, low smog factor/cleaner burn, and overall less consumption than similar gassers with more power/torque.

      My SF-based dealer does not do markup, but the Oakland dealer is rumored to have $5K markups on the new TDIs. I think the mark-ups will disappear as supply increases. There's a rumor too that dealers who are not marking up the TDIs are getting larger allotments than dealers who mark up...
        • 6 Years Ago
        @LS2LS7

        Another item I found interesting.

        The very Audi A6 2.7T you claim say you own happens to have significantly worse emissions that a T2B5 TDI.

        A quick look up shows that your A6 is rated as an LEV which is a CARB standard that was utilized from 2001-2006 on light-duty vehicles including some light-duty trucks.

        To be fair, most of the emissions are actually the same. The CO and NMOG limits are identical and depending on which LEV standard it exactly fell into, the PM emissions were either N/A or 0.08g/mi. Assuming the PM limits were in effect, your car is allowed to emit 800% more PM than a T2B5 TDI which has a limit of 0.01g/mi. Another large difference is on the NOx limits. T2B5 allows 0.07g/mi while LEV allowed 0.30g/mi, more than 425% more NOx emissions than a modern T2B5 engine is allowed.

        Does it bother you to drive such a polluting vehicle day in and day out? If a TDI is such a dirty vehicle, what does that make yours?

        So much uninformed hypocricy from you regarding diesels in every post you make. It's really starting to get old.

        Your assumptions may have been correct even a few years ago, but diesel engines(and their emissions standards) have made huge strides in the past few years. Please do some research for your own sake to keep you from continuing to look unintelligent(which I know you are not considering the majority of your posts).
        • 6 Years Ago
        I was wondering when we'd hear from our resident diesel Troll Patrol.

        "It produces the most smog-producing emissions allowed by law in a CARB area, and produces significantly more than the average of all cars sold in the CARB area."

        Both of these statements are blatantly false. It is way under LEV II standards for all smog-forming emissions, as verified by CARB testing. And since LEV II is based on fleet averages, its actually way below average as well.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Excuse me, its not seven times under. Someone on that website made a typo.

        For a ULEV, its 0.05 g/mi NOX. Which is fine, since the Jetta TDI does 0.03g/mi.

        So its still as clean as a ULEV as far as NOX goes.
        • 6 Years Ago
        The Jetta TDI (and in fact any Diesel currently sold in the US) is far from clean. It produces the most smog-producing emissions allowed by law in a CARB area, and produces significantly more than the average of all cars sold in the CARB area.

        I'm glad you like the fuel figures, because you're not doing the environment any favors.
          • 6 Years Ago
          Excuse me? The Jetta TDI is LEVII ULEV. Check the CARB certs.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Is it clean enough to meet all applicable federal standards for emissions? OK then, clean enough is good enough for me.
        • 6 Years Ago
        I totally agree with you guys...HE'S BACK!!

        The dude repeats the same effin BS over and over again!

        The bottom line is that he can't get over the fact that TDIs are now in the same emission class as gasoline vehicles!!

        I've had my share of debates with this dude. Nice to see a couple of other guys have steped in! There is nothing more frustrating than trying to teach something very simple to someone who just doesn't get it!

        Unfortunatly I can't bring myself to go through his whole fairly tale again...so I won't comment.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Excuse me. I mean the highest pollution levels allowed by law in the CARB area for a car, not truck, as up to 3% of trucks sold are allowed to pollute more than this over the next 18 months or so.

        Also: wagons rule.
        • 6 Years Ago
        BigMcLargeHuge:
        If this poster had not congratulated himself on how good the car is on pollution/smog and just stuck to the mpg figures, or even CO2, I would not have commented. He has a misconception that he is beating smog by buying this car and it isn't true.

        My archaic knowledge of Diesels is backed up by fueleconomy.gov. When that changes and shows the Jetta as something other than the dirtiest bin allowed in the CARB zone, I'll change my tune. Right now the car is a T2B5/LEV II.

        Why not go after montym, who put up a huge list of what cars are rated to counter my arguments, and used the non-CARB ratings? I forgot my link before on the Accord. Sorry about that.

        Here's the actual figures for montym's cars:
        (all 2008, all for CARB areas)
        Honda Civic - ULEV II
        Honda Accord - PZEV
        Toyota Camry - ULEV II for V6, otherwise LEV II
        Toyota Corolla - ULEV II
        Toyota Yaris - ULEV II
        Acura TSX - LEV II
        Audi A3 - ULEV II for FWD, LEV II for quattro
        Audi A4 - ULEV II for 4-cyl FWD CVT, others LEV II
        Audi A6 - LEV II
        smart fortwo - ULEV II
        Chrysler Sebring - some ULEV II, some LEV II
        Ford Fusion - 4 cyl is PZEV, 6 cyl is ULEV II
        Ford Mustang - GT500 is LEV II, rest are ULEV II*
        Ford Taurus - PZEV
        Kia Rio - ULEV II
        Kia Rondo - ULEV II
        Kia spectra - automatic is PZEV*, manual is ULEV II
        Hyundai Accent - ULEV II
        Hyundai Elantra - automatic is PZEV*, manual ULEV II
        Hyundai Sonata - ULEV II
        Chevy Aveo - ULEV II*
        Chevy Cobalt - 2.2L is PZEV*, 2.4L is LEV II, 2L Turbo is not listed
        Chevy Malibu - automatic V6 is ULEV II, others are LEV II, 'XFE' model (4cyl w/6-speed) is not listed
        Chevy Impala - regular car is PZEV, flex fuels are LEV II, SS is LEV II
        Chevy HHR - 2.4L are ULEV II, rest are LEV II
        Chevy Tahoe - regular 5.3L is ULEV II, flex fuel 5.3L is ULEV II*, rest LEV II
        Mini Cooper - ULEV II (S is also)
        * means that that config of car is dual-rated, typically meaning the manufacturer is producing only enough of the better rating to get their fleet average where it needs to be. The rest (which may be a small or large fraction) are LEV II.

        So, of the cars montym listed as LEV II (same as the Jetta Diesel), how many did he get right? Two, the TSX and A6. He got 10 more partially right, where some configs are LEV II, but others are not. The rest, he was dead wrong. In CARB areas, the rest of the cars including every Honda, most Toyotas, and every Kia, Hyundai and BMW MINI are all cleaner than this car.

        You merely nibble around the edges of my argument, claiming the Jetta is rated better than it is, when no EPA figure has been released yet that says so. How about concentrating your corrections on montym, who seems quite willing to put up reams of incorrect info to back up his case?

        Oh, and on the 7x thing. I make that mistake all the time, I can't recall why, I think NOx is 0.01 in g/km or something on SULEV II, when it's 0.02 in g/mi. If you look at the 0.07 g/mi of LEV II versus the 0.01, it looks like a 7x spread. But it isn't. The spread is 3.5x, so at 0.02, the car would be 3.5x better than LEV II. An honest mistake.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Quote from LS2LS7: -
        "CARB manages the fleet average of new vehicles sold to be well below LEV II. So no, 95% of vehicles sold in CARB areas are not LEV IIs." -

        No where in my comment did I claim anything about only CARB states. I'm speaking about the country as a whole.

        Also, allow me to apologize for some of my comments. I will admit that I was incorrect in much of my analysis. I blame it on trying to type my response at 2am while also concentrating on work.

        I was confusing ULEVII with LEVII and that resulted in a good deal of incorrect info that I admit is incorrect.

        Sorry.

        That said, I still have a fair amount to challenge LS2LS7 on.

        Quote from LS2LS7: -
        "Yes, my car is 9 years old. It isn't as clean as current cars. The idea is to improve the air over time, despite an increase in the number of vehicles." -

        That's exactly what these new diesels are doing. They are not only worlds cleaner than previous diesels(hence the clean diesel terminology), they are also significantly cleaner than any Tier1 car and many of the CARB LEV I standards as well. Once again, those are standards from only a few years back(1994-2003 for Tier1 and 2001-2006 for CARB LEV I). So, yes, all cars are getting cleaner over time with diesels making the biggest gains. I'd call that progress and I think it is exactly what you seem to be wanting to occur.


        Quote from LS2LS7: -
        "My car is a 2000, I bought it in 1999. So although I'm sure you're right about the levels of emissions, putting it in a class that was only used for trucks and didn't start until 2 years after I bought my car makes no sense." -


        It was actually a bit tough to find exactly which standard your car meets. But, it's not a standard for trucks. I think you are a bit confused there. Many of the standards are for both cars(LDV) and light trucks(LDT). There is not always a seperate standard for each, but in some cases there may be.

        Now that I know the year of your car, I can analyze my data a bit more. I think I had just used 2004 as an estimate when I made my calculations. But, it looks like they made the car cleaner in the later years as the '01 model(closest to yours that had a listing) shows the standard as TLEV. TLEV, much like LEV I is a standard for both LDV and LDT(cars and trucks), just like Tier 2 Bins 1-8 are as well as the CARB standards from ZEV up to LEVII option 1 are.

        It looks like TLEV allows a vehicle to emit twice as much NOx(0.6 vs. 0.3) and 1.73 times as much NMOG(0.156 vs. 0.090) as even the later LEV I standard it met that I used above.

        Quote from LS2LS7: -
        "When I get a new car, it will not pollute as much as the one I own. The car I'm currently looking at, BTW, is rated as a T2B5 (LEV II) also, same as this Jetta. But, before you make the hypocrite argument, know that I am not telling myself that I am doing the environment a favor with my vehicle purchase. I am not deluding myself." -

        This makes the most sense of anything I've seen you type about this topic in a while.

        As I mentioned above, for 99% of buyers of new cars this will follow your lead. The new car they buy(even a T2B5 TDI) will not pollute as much as the car they currently own. That seems to be the main point we are getting across to you that you don't seem to want to admit. I think you made a big step there.

        As for the 2nd part of it, I really don't think that most buyers of TDI's are doing it because they feel they are doing the environment a favor. They do it because it saves them money with the increased fuel mileage. I know that's my driving force in wanting one. I honestly could care less about the emissions so long as it passes the Fed's tests.

        One final quote from LS2LS7: -
        "If you want to buy a car that is good for the environment, don't buy a Diesel. If instead you just want to buy a car that gets good fuel mileage, especially on the highway, a Diesel might be the right car for you." -

        I agree about 95% with that. The 2nd part is spot-on, the first part needs a slight tweaking. I'd re-write it thusly,

        "If you want a car that's not the cleanest but is cleaner than 95% of the cars on the road today(on the road, not necessarily brand-new), buy a diesel, If additionally you want to buy a car that gets good fuel mileage, especially on the highway, a Diesel might also be the right car for you."
        • 6 Years Ago
        Sorry, have to correct one part of my comment.

        The part regarding the linked story mentioning 1 million Prius sales should actually refer to 1 million Toyota Hybrid sold, not just Priuses.

        Also important to note that out of those 1 million, over 1/3 of them(345K) were sold in Japan, the rest scattered around the World.

        Also, in 2006(the most recent full year data available at the time this story was published), Priuses made up 40% of the hybrids sold in the US. Combined with the data given higher up in the story stating that 312,500 Toyota Hybrids were sold in 2006, we can make some rough generaliztions and calculations.

        We'll assume that all of those hybrids were Priuses, so 312.5K/.40=781K. 781K would be the approximate figure of total hybrids sold in the US in 2006. That's not a terribly accurate number, but at least we know that the true figure wasn't higher than that since not all 312,500 hybrids sold were Priuses as was assumed.

        So, it may not be far off to assume that 1 million hybrids will be sold this year in the US considering the exponental growth they have had over the past few years.

        But again, that will still make up less than 10%(actually closer to 7%) of the total number of vehicles sold in the US.
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