Volkswagen owners - dealership service, how good or bad?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Dennis Reno, Jul 8, 2002.

  1. Dennis Reno

    Dennis Reno Supporting Actor

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    I'm considering the Passat W8 as my next vehicle but I'm very concerned about the service at VW dealerships. It appears that complaints regarding service seem to go hand-in-hand with owning a VW. The VW forums are filled with complaints. What have been your experiences as far as service is concerned?
     
  2. Richard Travale

    Richard Travale Producer

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    I guess it really depends on the dealership. For instance, the dealership here in Nanaimo is amazing. The parts manager is great as well as the service manager. On the other hand, the dealerships in two other towns(Courtney and Victoria) are completely horrible. I guess if you live in a city that has more than one dealership you could go in and hang out and chat with the service and parts managers and salesmen to see if they are good guys or not. It may even be worth going to a different city to buy your car if the service warrants it. There are people that travel from all over the island to buy their cars and get them serviced at Harbourview VW. Heck, even my brother drove down from Prince George(1200km) to make a deal because he started his VW relationship here and will always buy here no matter where he is.
    By the way, I was checking out the W8 Passat with 4motion the other day. Two words Suh Weet!!!
     
  3. Bhagi Katbamna

    Bhagi Katbamna Supporting Actor

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    I also have heard horror stories. But the Passat is such a nice car that if you have a good dealer around, it is OK. I have to drive about 80 miles to a dealer.
     
  4. Matt Stryker

    Matt Stryker Screenwriter

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    Other than the usual european quirks (parts are about 4 times as much as american cars, 2 times asian cars) and the fact that there is usually a wait for service, I have had pretty good experience with them.
     
  5. Dennis Reno

    Dennis Reno Supporting Actor

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    Good to hear that reliable dealers and service managers exist. I guess I'll call around. After visiting VW.com I found there are six dealers within a 30 mile radius from my home. There is even one within five miles, but after my initial visit and test drive I will not go back. The salesman never bothered to answer any of my questions despite several calls back to him. His only interest was in selling me the car I drove even though I told him I was not interested.

    I hate to drive 25+ miles when there is a dealership in my backyard but if this guy is representative of the service I will receive oh well!
     
  6. Peter McM

    Peter McM Supporting Actor

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    Dennis:
    I am a sales rep for Speedway VW in Indianapolis.
    www.speedwayauto.com
    If you need help or questions, contact me thru our web site. I will do everything I can to help a fellow HTFer. Perhaps I can make your trip here worth the time and effort. We have W8's in stock![​IMG]
     
  7. Steve Schaffer

    Steve Schaffer Producer

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    With VW as with most any make (Lexus, BMW, MB may be exceptions) the quality of dealer service will vary greatly, even between 2 dealers in a 10 mile radius.

    Dealer service can also make or break the ownership experience.

    I work in the service dept of a Toyota store. There are 2 other dealerships within 10 miles, maybe 5 within 25 miles. Service ranges from very good to abysmal among these dealers. Judging by the number of cars we get in for service with license frames from the other dealers in the area, I'd like to think we're one of if not the best in the area. Our CSI scores are among the best.

    Your best bet would be to check around with other VW owners in your area for opinions on dealer service.

    Due to a distinct stigma attached to the job as well as some factors relating to how we are paid, there is a shortage of competent auto service personnel. As a result many dealers aren't willing to hire or train competent people and flat can't do reliable diagnosis of the complex device that is today's automobile. They try to cover up for this lack in a variety of ways, but the upshot is that folks who rely on these places for competent repairs or corrections of warranty problems are pretty much out of luck.

    Also keep in mind that sales and service are separate entities within a dealership. It is possible to have a great sales experience only to be let down by a lousy service department and vice versa.

    That being said, if the sales crew is knowledgeable and fair-dealing, you do have a better chance at getting a competent service dept.
     
  8. Dennis Reno

    Dennis Reno Supporting Actor

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    Peter - thanks for the offer. I checked out the website but I didn't find any direct email address or link for you. Maybe you can answer a couple questions:

    1. When are the '03 W8 supposed to begin arriving?
    2. How soon will the Sport pkg. be available on the W8? (I've read September both online and in print)
    3. When will the 6 speed manual transmission be available?

    FYI, my current lease ends in September. I'm allowing myself some extra time in case the vehicle I want is not sitting on a lot somewhere.

    Steve - good idea, but where can I find other VW owners in my area? I'm not aware of any local VW Meets and I don't want to simply hang around the service desk at the dealership!
     
  9. Keith Mickunas

    Keith Mickunas Cinematographer

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    Dennis, when I decided to get a Jetta, I went on vwvortex.com and asked for info on dealers in the DFW area. For the most part I got consistent replies with people regarding which dealerships are good and which are bad in the area. I bought from Rusty Wallis, but I get service at a different dealer because they're closer and have treated me well. Go to the vortex and search, then ask for recommendations in your area. There's a lot of crap at the vortex, but if you sift through you can get good info.

    Also, things should be changing, they have to if VW wants success with the Phaeton. People buying a $75k car are not going to put up with a lot of the issues current Golf and Jetta buyers deal with.

    BTW, I love my Jetta. I've had minor problems, a few rattles mostly, but I don't regret the purchase one bit.
     
  10. Steve Zatkoff

    Steve Zatkoff Stunt Coordinator

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    Dennis,

    Like Keith said, If VW wants to compete against the big boys, they will have to address the many service issues they have. Your best bet would be to find out which dealerships will be selling the Pheaton, because they should have the service level you would expect. The Passat(B5) forum at vwvortex is pretty good. you might also check out clubb5.com. I have owned my '01.5 Passat 1.8t for a year now and love it. The service has been pretty good as well. BTW, this is my second VW.

    Good Luck.
     
  11. Stephen_Opipari

    Stephen_Opipari Stunt Coordinator

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    When I had my 2000 Jetta 1.8T (just upgraded to an Audi A4Q [​IMG]) I had both a good and bad dealership experience. The dealer I bought the car from was *terrible* when it came to service, they had no cluse what the word ment.
    So I changed dealers for service to one that was slightly farther away. They, unlike the other dealership, were amazing in how they handled service and treated their customers. Needless to say, I kept going there until I bought my A4 a few weeks back.
    Personally, for the money it would take to get a Passat W8, I'd be looking at an Audi S4. [​IMG] The W8 looks to be a really nice car though.
     
  12. Dennis Reno

    Dennis Reno Supporting Actor

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    I am looking at the S4 as well! The only problem is that the nearest Audi dealer is 25+ miles away. I haven't been able to get out there for a test drive yet. I'm also considering the BMW 330xi.
     
  13. Mark Paquette

    Mark Paquette Supporting Actor

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    Stephen_Opipari, which VW dealer did you have good luck with? A Jetta happens to be on our short list for a new, economical car and I'm basically in the same area of Michigan as you are.
     
  14. Peter McM

    Peter McM Supporting Actor

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    Sorry, Dennis--you can e-mail at attn to me, or phone toll-free 1-888-239-9229.
    My VW sales manager says they've been talking about the availability of sport pkg and manuel shift for the W8 for '03, but nothing definite has been announced to dealers yet. You'd be surprised how late dealers tend to get new spec information[​IMG]
     
  15. Stephen_Opipari

    Stephen_Opipari Stunt Coordinator

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    Mark,
    The good dealership is Fox in Rochester Hills. I believe they actually have one of the best CSI's for VW dealers in general, don't quote me on that that though. They also just moved the VW side of the dealership into a brand new bldg that was designed specifically for VW dealers. The place is sweet looking. A bit of a haul from Adrian though, isn't it? [​IMG]
    Make sure you check out all 3 engines if you are looking at the Jetta. All three are very competent, but to me the 2.0 is 2.slow. [​IMG] I had a 1.8T (also in my new A4), while not as beefy as the VR6 is a very good match to that car and fairly quick.
    The new 24v VR6 Jetta GLI looks really, really slick too.
     
  16. Mark Paquette

    Mark Paquette Supporting Actor

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  17. Dennis Reno

    Dennis Reno Supporting Actor

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  18. Stephen_Opipari

    Stephen_Opipari Stunt Coordinator

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    I know there's also a dealership in Farmington Hills which is a VW/Audi dealer. Don't know anything about them though.
     
  19. Ryan Wright

    Ryan Wright Screenwriter

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    My VW dealership is fairly decent. At least, they're the best dealership I've ever been to. No pressure sales, it's very relaxed, etc.

    We traded in our '00 Montero Sport on a VW Beetle back in November. Last Thursday, we bought our Montero back from the same dealership (they still hadn't sold it). They were great to work with and I'm very pleased to have my truck back (at the same price they paid me for it, and they bought brand new tires and fixed a paint chip on the hood, so if you don't consider tax I came out ahead). I would certainly buy from them again.

    One problem: I always had to fight their service department to give my wife a rental car. Our extended warranty included rental car coverage and the car was in for service five times since November. They always tried to bully me out of my rental car with excuses. "We don't have any to give you" or "Your coverage doesn't include a rental car." They would rather my wife and five year old daughter wait around for 4 hours while they work on the car, which is bullshit. One of their service guys insisted that my policy did not include rental car coverage (this after I had already used said coverage multiple times). The phone conversation went as follows:

    Him: "Well we don't have a rental car to give you, and your coverage doesn't include one, anyway."
    Me: "No, you're wrong, it does include one. When I bought the policy I was told that it included a rental, and - "
    Him (interrupting): "Who told you that?"
    Me: "Your sales manager who sold me the policy."
    Him: "Yeah, well, they SAY that, but that's not really how it is, you know how those salesmen are."
    Me: "Hmmm. So am I to understand that your salesmen fraudulently sell these policies to your customers and the dealership knows this goes on? Sounds like - " (I was going to finish with "Sounds like grounds for a lawsuit" when he interrupted me again)
    Him (interrupting): "We'll have a rental car available for you, sir. Come on in anytime."

    That said, other than the whole fighting over the rental car every damn time thing, I'd still give them my business. Quite simply, the salesmen are great and the service department does an excellent job. They fix things quickly and I was never without my car for more than a few hours - even when I took it off-road, hit a rock and punched a hole in the oil pan (which the warranty covered!) - they paid the towing bill and had my car back to me the next morning, good as new.
     
  20. Scott Merryfield

    Scott Merryfield Executive Producer

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