Volkswagen is one of the few manufacturers more customer-unfriendly than General Motors. Many things are designed in to cost you money after the sale as you probably found out. In particular, if the battery is disconnected or run dead, the car may not start, and if it does, it may not come out of park or increase engine speed when the accelerator pedal is pressed. The car must be dragged onto a flat bed truck and taken to the dealer to have numerous computers unlocked. There is no legitimate reason to build a car that way.
Most new cars are now using the insanely dangerous "throttle-by-wire" system that put Toyota in the news. The manufacturers are making their car unnecessarily complicated with unreliable computers to do things computers were never needed for before. One model even needs a computer module to roll the front windows down an inch to allow you to open the doors, otherwise the convertible top will catch on them. What do you do when that computer fails? I seem to recall that is on an Audi.
Read through these forums and see how many problems people are having related to computers. Anti-theft systems are real effective at keeping owners out of their own cars. It's no wonder GM is losing repeat customers. The few Volkswagen owners think their problem is a rare one and they remain loyal to that brand. They still think "German engineering" is a positive comment.
If you still want a new car, in my opinion, the most customer-friendly companies are Hyundai, Toyota, and to some extent, Chrysler. I'd love to buy a new car again, but no manufacturer is building a simple, reliable, model so I'm sticking with my unbelievably reliable '88 Grand Caravan. It has all the toys like power windows, locks, mirrors, and seat, delayed wipers and rear defroster, and none of them need a computer to work.
If you regularly trade cars before the warranty expires, these concerns might not be important to you since the manufacturer will be paying the repair bills. After talking with many people at old car shows, I can only imagine a company's new car sales going through the roof if they started building less-complicated cars and trucks.
Saturday, January 7th, 2012 AT 10:31 AM