Undoubtedly, one vehicle with the potential to profit handsomely from this week's expected rush by Americans to unload old gas guzzlers for newer, more thrifty vehicles is Volkswagen's Jetta TDI. With owners reporting typical real-world mileage of around 35-40 mpg along with superior dynamics to most hybrids and relatively sedate pricing, the Jetta TDI seems perfectly positioned to grab a lot of attention. Unfortunately for Volkswagen dealers, though, it just ain't happening. You see, there are virtually no Jetta TDIs to be had anywhere, especially if you were hoping to get a Sportwagen.
Bringing the story closer to home, this author has personally been out shopping the last several days in search of a TDI Sportwagen to replace the wife's nine-year old Passat (which unfortunately doesn't quite qualify for clunker status) – all to no avail. After checking with local dealers and calling showrooms all over Michigan and Ohio, there simply are no TDI wagons. Anything still on the lot already has a deposit check tied to it and the few still on trucks are also accounted for. A few sedans apparently remain, but they seem likely to go fast as well.
According to the salesman at Howard Cooper Volkswagen in Ann Arbor, the problem is that the 2009 model run has expired and Germany takes the month of August off. As a result, no diesel engines will be shipped to Mexico in August, so VW's Puebla plant can't assemble more cars to meet demand.