VW Jettas: Official auto of the digerati?

VW Jettas: Official auto of the digerati?

Summary: After reading Wayne Cunningham's blog on thejettareport.com, it's clear to me that tech centers like Silicon Valley, Seattle, Austin, New York, and Boston  must be filled with Cheech & Chong-like smoke filled Volkswagen Jettas.

TOPICS: Tech Industry

After reading Wayne Cunningham's blog on thejettareport.com, it's clear to me that tech centers like Silicon Valley, Seattle, Austin, New York, and Boston  must be filled with Cheech & Chong-like smoke filled Volkswagen Jettas.  According to Cunningham, compared to BMW-driving nerds like him, Jetta owners are:

  • 156 percent more likely to have downloaded music
  • 110 percent more likely to chat online
  • 153 percent more likely to use email
  • 87 percent more likely to agree that marijuana should be legalized.
I owned a Jetta before I bought my current car (a Pontiac Vibe that I would never, in a million years, recommend to anyone).  That's about all I have to say.

Topic: Tech Industry

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  • OK, OT, but gotta ask...

    What's wrong with the Vibe? I had actually been thinking about buying one.
    • Problems with the paint

      Simultaneously, (1) the sunroof started having alignment, rattling, and leaking problems and (2) the paint started chipping off the front end of our car.

      The dealership told us that the damage was caused by continued exposure to road debris and that such damage wasn't covered in the warranty. We're talking about a car that's driven on nothing but well-paved roads. It's not like we're driving on gravel all day long. Or at all for that matter. We took GM to the Better Business Bureau for arbitration which was a complete scam in terms of the impartiality.

      Before arbitration began, GM offered to fix the sunroof and give us an extended warranty on that repair if we'd absolve them of blame for the paint damage. We received a BBB document where, if we signed, the whole thing would have been over. What one (the paint damage) has to do with the other (the sunroof), I have no idea. The car is under extended warranty anyway. So, needless to say, that was an offer we weren't about to accept. So, then we headed into arbitration.

      First, GM was allowed to bring in their own paint expert to do an analysis of the car. The guy comes, does an analysis, and finds that the paint was improperly applied. We thought that was it. Game over. Not. Despite having all the necessary accreditations to do such inspections, GM found a way to discredit the guy. We're talking about someone who had like 30 years of experience in body work. Mind you, this was a guy *they* picked and sent and that the BBB approved of. This was the first indication that the BBB's process was too easily manipulated. Bear in mind that GM pays big big dues to the BBB.

      After that, we were given a hearing and then, after the hearing, both parties (us and GM) were supposed to submit final rebuttals in writing (see arbitration process #'s 21 and 22 here:


      Impartiality is supposedly guaranteed by virtue of the fact that neither party gets to see what the other writes in their rebuttal until both responses have been turned in. In our case, there was a "clerical" error even though I called several times (having been senstized by the suspicious business with the paint inspector) and received assurances that such a error would NOT be made. I even have this documented in e-mail (with an apology). GM got to see our response before it submitted its own.

      When GM's response arrived, it focused on the points we made in our response, which it was never supposed to have seen in the first place. Our response was airtight as long as GM didn't get to see it and make up stuff like it did in the hearing. It made silly arguments like a 35 mile commute on a major thoroughfare from the suburbs to a metro center (Boston) was above average for commuting (implying that the car was more susceptible to road debris than other cars), that I-95 was an unmaintained road (implying it had more road debris on it than others --- my wife and I have been commuting on that same path with other cars like the Jetta for 15 years without incurring such damage... today, she takes a different GM vehicle to work and the Vibe stays home and the car she drives doesn't have a scratch on it...); it said that the Vibe's body is an unusually low-to the ground thereby increasing the likelihood of coming into contact with debris. Had *I* gotten to see their response before finalizing mine, I would have used video tape and a tape measure to show how that's not the case versus the cars of my neighbors. In fact, it sits higher from the ground than some other cars (probably because its a 4WD vehicle). Besides, some of these paint chips are on the hood. We never had a chance to dispute these non-factual assertions. GM basically had the final word and never once addressed the paint quality problem that it's own inspector originally identified.

      Heading into the hearing, we found many other complaints about the paint (try Google, I'm sure you can find them... that's the way my wife found them). So, you can imagine the expense that GM would have been subject to if it had to recall all Vibes because of paint issues.

      Not surprisingly, our case was also being directed out of the BBB's corporate HQ in Arlington, Virginia instead of the local outpost.

      All GM had to do was spend the $500 or whatever to fix our paint and the problem would have disappeared. That's all we wanted. They spent more money on inspections, lawyers, and the arbitration session than it would have cost them to fix our car. What does that tell you about how badly they didn't want to fix our car and why?

      • Wow...

        Makes me lose all faith in the BBB (I guess I wasn't as surprised by such behaviour from a big company like GM).

        Thanks for all the info - I really appreciate it! Looks like I'll be scratching the Vibe, and just about any other GM vehicle, off my list.

        I currently have a 2004 Ford Mustang, and while I certainly wouldn't put it at the top of my "buy again" list, at least Ford and the dealership have been really good about any warranty issues (even replacing all the carpeting when one part began to tear).

        Thanks again,

        • Yeah, forgot to mention...

          we're done with GM. Permanently. So to are a bunch of our friends who watched us live through the ordeal in disbelief.

  • My first car was a Jetta

    ...had it until two years ago.
    John Carroll
  • Love my Jetta

    I feel very good about my Jetta choice:

    from - www.hybridcars.com
    Link - http://www.hybridcars.com/hybrid-versus-diesel.html
    Diesel suffers from an image problem. Owners of gasoline vehicles generally still believe that diesels are noisy, smelly and underpowered relative to gasoline vehicles. In large part, this is due to unfamiliarity with modern diesel technology. Compared with 1988 diesel technology, modern diesels have 100% more power, 60% less noise, 90% lower emissions, and 30% less fuel consumption. Modern diesels are not noisier than gasoline engines, do not produce a diesel odor, and accelerate as well as comparable gasoline vehicles. This suggests that many of the negative perceptions about diesels held by car buyers could be overcome with greater exposure to modern diesel vehicles.