Thursday, April 29, 2010

Pet Peeves:Why I hate car companies like VW and Ford (and others)

I used to like VW, I really did. My first car was a 1969 VW Fastback, and I have owned a 1991 Jetta, and 2001 Jetta, which I still own.

Recently, my wife opined that we should replace the 2001 Jetta as it has gotten a bit long in the tooth. Our other vehicle is a 2009 Suburban (don't get me started on that vehicle and company, as I'd like to throw Mary Sipes under a moving bus), so for a second vehicle, we'd want something a little better on gas, but still had some capacity. My wife wanted something a cute factor too.

We've been satisfied with VWs so far, so I looked into to buying a Jetta TDI Sport Wagon. I wanted one with a manual transmission. Not a big deal I thought, I'll contact Lithia VW to see what they have.

It seems Lithia does not order cars with manual transmissions. WTF? It's a VW, and they make cars with manual transmissions. I would know, I own one. There are only two VW dealers in Iowa that I know about. I went to the website for the one in Cedar Falls, and no go, although I have seen them carry cars with manual transmissions before. Not so with Lithia.

Anyway, to make a long story a little shorter, I contacted VW to see if they could help me as well as complain a bit. You'd think they'd want someone to buy VW #4, wouldn't you? Well, below is the response I got from them:

Dear Jim,

Thank you for your e-mail asking about the availability of the Volkswagen brand in your area.  While our Volkswagen Information Center is available to provide general information on our vehicles, our system is not able to see which vehicles are in stock at individual dealerships.  It is for this reason that we encourage you to remain in contact with your dealer directly for updates pertaining to their
particular inventory.  Volkswagen dealerships are empowered to create policies and procedures suitable for their business needs, therefore, pricing, availability, and policies may vary.  

We truly hope that you are able to locate your model of interest, Jim.


Well, I have to say I was surprised. Then I wasn't, but I will explain a little later. I guess dealers are no more than glorified franchises like a local burger king. Still, it is in the best interests of the mother ship to make it's customers and potential customers happy. Telling me to work with a dealer whose only interest to sell me a car they have which is not one I want is the height of stupidity. I guess VW isn't hard up for business. It's their loss, but to be honest, none of the Japanese or American cars in this class do anything for me and it's become more and more for American cars not to come with manual transmissions. Most American cars are crap anyway, more on that later. Anyway, VW obviously doesn't want to sell me a car, and now I am reluctant to buy one from them.

As far as Fords go, when we were looking for a full size SUV, I wanted to get a Ford Expedition EL. Ford didn't take bailout money and that means something to me. I guess not Ford. No luck finding one then, and my local dealer, Stivers Ford, wouldn't try to locate one for me. Neither would the other dealers. So I bought a Suburban. I'd like to send Mary Sipes to Antarctica for eternity. This feminazi is responsible for taking what was the largest SUV extant, the car for big people and turned it into a car for women. Look her up. She made her male engineers wear skirts and heels when they were designing the 2007 and up truck platform so as the engineers to feel women's pain.

The result is a vehicle that is smaller inside than it need be. With the center console and door panel sticking out, I feel trapped in the vehicle. In fact, It I had an accident where I had to get out quickly, I'd be fucked. I have to duck a little to get in. Not so with older suburbans. Everything was scaled for smaller people. For a 4x4, it sits too low and has running boards (bad idea on an SUV or truck, take my word for it) and ground effects that make it necessary for me to jack up the vehicle to change the oil. I didn't have to do that with my 1984 K-10. Lets move on. It's a nearly 6000lb pig. It has inadequate gearing and an inadequate engine. The 5.3 has to be revved to get anything out of it and unless you do, it can't get out it's own way. A 6.2L engine should be standard with the duramax as an option. The transmission shifts like it has honey in it. Sloppy, not firm at all. 4L is a pain to get in. Lets be clear here: Whoever designed the electronic transfer case shift should be shot. A lever works every time. Not the dial. I have to put in in neutral, stop and hope it goes into 4L.

Interior. Cheap plastic, drab grey, chincy fake wood. The vehicle rattles in the winter like a tin can. Then there are the plastic bumpers that you have to worry about hitting snow banks when parking in the winter. Didn't need to worry about that with steel. I could go on. It wasn't worth the 40K+ I paid for it.

In an effort to make things easy or convenient, GM has made things worse, in some cases much worse, and it will get even more worse now that it is Obama Motors.

So here you have it. My guess in this case is that there is not enough competition in Iowa (this is a statement that can be applied to many things) and that businesses here have the false notion that people will buy local out of some sort of loyalty to local businesses. With the advent of the internet as a purchasing tool, they will find out that such an outdated and parochial attitude will go away and their competition could be anywhere in this country. That is my best bet if I want a particular car. Screw the local guy, as he doesn't want to earn my business. It's not guaranteed, and it shouldn't be.

So that is my pet peeve for the day. Sorry for the rant, but I am tired of parochial attitudes, I am tired of big corporate isolationism from its customers, and I am tired of compromising and not getting what I want. Want the dealer wants, or the sales should always be second. If you disagree, whose hard earned money is it anyway? It's not theirs.

Thank you for reading this blog.

If you like this, please go to My Motorrad and What's Under the hood.


Pet Peeve said...

I'm sure alot of people would disagree with the companies that are being discussed but they cannot argue with your reasons. They are all very good and you know what you are talking about. We would love to hear your interesting thoughts and opinions in our blog. Thank You!

lake worth off lease car dealer said...

Companies are not bad the dealers are bad by giving bad services. In this case i would like to say i have a 2006 VW Jetta and i have bought this model last year. You will be surprised this is the only car in our area which never show any mistakes and continuously running from my office to home.

The Right Guy said...

What issues do you have?

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