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Old 08-30-2011, 04:47 PM   #1
AVANTI R5
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Default VW: We know you're nervous, but our quality is improving




Quote:
Far from ducking its history of quality problems, Volkswagen seems eager to discuss them -- well, discuss how it has improved, how the standard measures of quality aren't the be-all indices, and how other things count, too.No self-flagellation, but no more denial or weaseling, it seems. That's a strong impression from a session that Drive On attended the past week at VW headquarters in Herndon, Va., just a few miles down the toll road from USA TODAY headquarters in McLean.

The main reasons for the VW session were to provide 2012 Beetle driving opportunities for dozens of journalists, and to emphasize that VW is a full-line automaker, not merely a seller of niche-mobiles (such as the Beetle).

But the warm-up was, "We do better as a brand than we get credit for," in the words of Marc Trahan, VW's executive vice president in charge of quality.

Yes, yes, he acknowledges, "We have some trouble in IQS," a reference to J.D. Power and Associates' widely watched Initial Quality Study, a measure of owner-reported problems the first 90 days of ownership:

In the 2011 IQS, VW owners reported an average 131 problems per 100 cars, putting VW into a tie with Mini for 29th among 32 brands. Best was Lexus at 73/100. Worst: Dodge at 137/100. VW's score in 2010 was slightly worse: 135/100.

Automakers have begun to criticize the IQS because it lets owners call something a problem even if it works as designed, but they found it confusing or cumbersome, such as a telecommunications or navigation system. Hardly the same as brakes that fail or an engine that won't run, but still a "problem" in the survey.

VW prefers to point to its many models rated as "top safety pick" by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, which crash-tests cars to judge how well they would protect occupants. And the recent "Total Quality Award" from consultant Strategic Vision.

And even a different Power study, called APEAL (Automotive Performance, Execution and Layout). In that one, VW is above average, and ranks 14th out of 32 brands.

Probably more important from VW's perspective, its warranty costs went down 10% last year, are on track to repeat that this year, and have been dropping at about that rate for several years.

VW U.S. chief Jonathan Browning says that drop in costs is true even after you adjust for the fact that VW shortened its warranty to three years from five when it began offering free maintenance.
To improve its quality scores, VW says it is:
  • Reviewing customer feedback and complaints monthly, in an internal process much like the yearly Power IQS.
  • Involving a customer satisfaction team early in product development.
  • Changing designs and layouts specifically to address U.S. customer issues. For instance, making seat recliner levers and climate-control knobs and switches easier to find, figure out and operate.
  • Paying more attention, sooner, to problems reported by fleet customers and dealers, to find and fix things before they become widespread among individual customers.
  • Hosting German-based VW Group board members for test drives during new-model development in the U.S.
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Old 08-30-2011, 05:05 PM   #2
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wow. that new beetle is seriously ugly.
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Old 08-30-2011, 08:36 PM   #3
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it is not a good day when a company has to admit problems, and try to convince people that it is turning around.

I hope it does turn around, but it shouldn't have been allowed to get bad enough to be an issue above and beyond the industry average.
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Old 08-30-2011, 08:37 PM   #4
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10% less claims is probably still ****ty. Context would be helpful but unlikely to be found.
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Old 08-30-2011, 09:05 PM   #5
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Quote:
Automakers have begun to criticize the IQS because it lets owners call something a problem even if it works as designed, but they found it confusing or cumbersome, such as a telecommunications or navigationsystem. Hardly the same as brakes that fail or an engine that won't run, but still a "problem" in the survey.

IMO, if VW (or any other manufacturer for that matter) designs comm/sat systems that work, but are confusing/cumbersome - they deserve to be identified as problematic. Hey VW, here's a novel idea, instead of debating the validity of the IQS, why don't you just design a system that isn't overly confusing or cumbersome?

As for overall quality improving from VW, I'm not buying it - yet. I've said it before - VW needs to put forth as much research/development into their overall reliability as they do interior fit/finish/ergonimc engineering and their IQS statistics will not be an issue.
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Old 08-30-2011, 09:52 PM   #6
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VW: "Hey - we realize that our cars were pieces of **** in the past - but, we'd like to let you know that they're a teensy-weensy amount less of a piece of **** than they used to be, primarily because we decontented them, getting rid of some potential piece of ****tiness."
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Old 08-31-2011, 01:57 PM   #7
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Currently trying to figure out how to have my girlfriend's '00 Beetle realize that when the doors are unlocked, the alarm should de-arm. . .

Nick
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Old 08-31-2011, 05:41 PM   #8
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VAG: not even once.
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Old 08-31-2011, 05:43 PM   #9
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I'll check back in 5 years then.
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Old 08-31-2011, 06:28 PM   #10
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Fact: I would not consider buying a VW. Not "hating" as you kids say, but there's always a better alternative.
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Old 08-31-2011, 08:25 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by shikataganai View Post
10% less claims is probably still ****ty. Context would be helpful but unlikely to be found.
Note that they used the word "costs" not "claims" in the statement. That could be due to accounting treatment or ignoring customer complaints.

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Originally Posted by CryderSpeed View Post
VAG: not even once.
I made that mistake once; I'll never buy another POS VAG product again.
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Old 08-31-2011, 08:45 PM   #12
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Ironic that VW made the same mistakes the last time they assembled cars in Westmoreland, Pa USA.
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Old 08-31-2011, 08:52 PM   #13
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Drove a Jetta once where the horn came on with every left turn.

That was enough for me.
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Old 08-31-2011, 09:05 PM   #14
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I am a Subie traitor. So you are all invited to hate me. I will always have a love for Subaru but a Subaru or any Japanese car for that matter could never match the solidity of a German car. And most German cars could never match the reliability of a Japanese car. But anyone who has stepped out of a WRX and into a GTI will tell you the GTI is a higher quality car with solid driving dynamics not to mention interior quality that is worlds beyond anything Subaru could do. If you are the type that can appreciate the details like the solid cast door hinges of a VW compared to the cheap stamped steel of a Subaru you know what I am talking about. Putting aside that Subaru does not exactly have a stellar reliability rating, VW reliability is indeed spotty but there are legions of believers who recognize and appreciate the "feel" of a VW or any German car for that matter. I have had 2 WRX's and a Legacy and all felt like tin cans and never inspired confidence at speed. 100 mph in my WRX was not confidence inspiring. 100mph in my CC feels like 50 mph. Perhaps I am one of the fortunate ones but my VW has had zero problems so far with 35k on the clock. My wifes Beetle also reports in with zero problems at 14k miles. Yes, I realize they are still young. We have friends with older VWs and they have been equally as reliable as our friends older Subarus. Personally I think VW un-reliability is over hyped.
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Old 08-31-2011, 09:11 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rexster View Post
wow. that new beetle is seriously ugly.
and Subaru is known for their gorgeous designs?
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Old 08-31-2011, 09:11 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fazzster View Post
Personally I think VW un-reliability is over hyped.

Most happy VW owners do.
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Old 08-31-2011, 09:44 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by HipToBeSquare View Post
it is not a good day when a company has to admit problems, and try to convince people that it is turning around.
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Old 08-31-2011, 10:00 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fazzster View Post
I am a Subie traitor. So you are all invited to hate me. I will always have a love for Subaru but a Subaru or any Japanese car for that matter could never match the solidity of a German car. And most German cars could never match the reliability of a Japanese car. But anyone who has stepped out of a WRX and into a GTI will tell you the GTI is a higher quality car with solid driving dynamics not to mention interior quality that is worlds beyond anything Subaru could do. If you are the type that can appreciate the details like the solid cast door hinges of a VW compared to the cheap stamped steel of a Subaru you know what I am talking about. Putting aside that Subaru does not exactly have a stellar reliability rating, VW reliability is indeed spotty but there are legions of believers who recognize and appreciate the "feel" of a VW or any German car for that matter. I have had 2 WRX's and a Legacy and all felt like tin cans and never inspired confidence at speed. 100 mph in my WRX was not confidence inspiring. 100mph in my CC feels like 50 mph. Perhaps I am one of the fortunate ones but my VW has had zero problems so far with 35k on the clock. My wifes Beetle also reports in with zero problems at 14k miles. Yes, I realize they are still young. We have friends with older VWs and they have been equally as reliable as our friends older Subarus. Personally I think VW un-reliability is over hyped.
I know a guy with a CC. It's munched two turbos (like, they exploded and shot things out of the exhaust) twice in 30k and none of the windows work.
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Old 08-31-2011, 10:01 PM   #19
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I think sales of the U.S. built Passat wont meet VW's expectations. And they'll be so dismal that VW will eventually offer the longest bumper to bumper warranty in the industry only on that model.
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Old 08-31-2011, 10:32 PM   #20
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I loved my VW GTI, but the fact is that I replaced it last summer with a Toyota largely due to the poor reliability. I haven't seen the service bay since the day I drove my 4Runner home... 22k miles ago. My GTI was seeing the service bay about every 4 months (6k miles).
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Old 08-31-2011, 10:45 PM   #21
LoneDubR
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Lets see ive owned

mk2 jetta with 2l aba swap,slammed,mk3 sport plaid seats
mk3 gti(first vw)
mk3 jetta gl
mk4 jetta gls 1.8T, 23psi,vmaxx coilovers,BBS wheels,euro lip and side skirts
audi tt(counting it because it has the drivetrain of an r32 and the engine of a mk4 jetta) this had more mods then all my cars

and not a single one left me stranded like my wrx has. The doors on my wrx feel like those of my mk2....empty. The rattles up a storm,the trans is a joke, interior feels like a daewoo. Subaru has a far way to come to match VW in my eyes. Don't get me wrong i love my wrx, hell i traded my TT for my bugeye. But subaru still cant touch vw or audi.
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Old 08-31-2011, 11:09 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fazzster View Post
and Subaru is known for their gorgeous designs?
Show me where he said that. I'll wait.
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Old 08-31-2011, 11:59 PM   #23
Len
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fazzster View Post
I am a Subie traitor. So you are all invited to hate me. I will always have a love for Subaru but a Subaru or any Japanese car for that matter could never match the solidity of a German car. And most German cars could never match the reliability of a Japanese car. But anyone who has stepped out of a WRX and into a GTI will tell you the GTI is a higher quality car with solid driving dynamics not to mention interior quality that is worlds beyond anything Subaru could do. If you are the type that can appreciate the details like the solid cast door hinges of a VW compared to the cheap stamped steel of a Subaru you know what I am talking about. Putting aside that Subaru does not exactly have a stellar reliability rating, VW reliability is indeed spotty but there are legions of believers who recognize and appreciate the "feel" of a VW or any German car for that matter. I have had 2 WRX's and a Legacy and all felt like tin cans and never inspired confidence at speed. 100 mph in my WRX was not confidence inspiring. 100mph in my CC feels like 50 mph. Perhaps I am one of the fortunate ones but my VW has had zero problems so far with 35k on the clock. My wifes Beetle also reports in with zero problems at 14k miles. Yes, I realize they are still young. We have friends with older VWs and they have been equally as reliable as our friends older Subarus. Personally I think VW un-reliability is over hyped.
I for one appreciate the refined feeling of paragraphs.

But in general, I get what you mean. And I like both the GTI and the CC.

But on the other hand, perceived quality has little to do with engineering integrity. Subarus, at least the one I owned for 8 years, was an extremely well engineered car at the core. The door might have sounded hollow, but it was one of the most crash worthy cars in its generation, side impact included.

I do not think that Germans have superior engineering capability over the Japanese. What they do have, I think, is their taste on cars.
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Old 09-01-2011, 12:08 AM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Len View Post
I for one appreciate the refined feeling of paragraphs.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Len View Post
But in general, I get what you mean. And I like both the GTI and the CC.

But on the other hand, perceived quality has little to do with engineering integrity. Subarus, at least the one I owned for 8 years, was an extremely well engineered car at the core. The door might have sounded hollow, but it was one of the most crash worthy cars in its generation, side impact included.

I do not think that Germans have superior engineering capability over the Japanese. What they do have, I think, is their taste on cars.
QFT
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Old 09-01-2011, 08:52 AM   #25
JuggernautTCW
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LoneDubR View Post
and not a single one left me stranded like my wrx has
what happened to the WRX? its generally not known to leave the owners stranded like exotics cars unless you start modifying them.
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