As previously mentioned, I contacted VW in July regarding my broken key issue. I do not have a copy of that email, but it was a summary of the problems with the ignition/keys and the 12v adapters. I was naive enough to think that VW might actually, you know, do something about the problem with the car they made.
VW’s response to my first contact:
Your Jetta was built to last, and I apologize that you are experiencing concerns with the ignition sticking.
We appreciate that you have taken the time to reach out to us, and make us aware of the concerns with your key breaking off in the ignition.
I understand you are requesting assistance with the cost of the repair. Volkswagen considers all requests for assistance with a repair outside of warranty on a case by case basis.
I have had the opportunity to research your request. The Jetta is 18,000 miles outside of the New Vehicle Limited Warranty. Volkswagen is unable to assist with the cost of the repair. I apologize, as I know that this decision does not meet your expectations.
We look for every opportunity to assist our customers. If you would like, we can follow up with the VW dealership on the diagnosis for the 12v charger, and work with the dealer to ensure all of our technical resources are being utilized for both repairs.
If you need help locating your nearest dealer, you can do that here: http://www.vw.com/portal/en/dealers?context=Global.
If you’d like us to follow up on your diagnosis and repairs, please reply to this email with the name of your servicing dealership and your appointment date.
Customer CARE Advocate
I did not initially reply to this email, as Volkswagen had made it clear they had no intention of fixing their mistakes.
When the car decided that shifting was optional, I did respond with this:
I appreciate your sense of humor by starting off your reply with a joke (“your Jetta was built to last”), but unfortunately the situation is beyond humor. My 1996 Chevrolet Silverado had fewer problems than this Jetta–it made it to well over 100,000 miles before requiring any significant repairs. It could be argued that the Jetta will certainly last if it cannot turn on and be driven, but that’s rather deceitful, don’t you think? My paycheck would last if I didn’t have to use it.
I would also like to make you aware of a new issue that has arisen. On Sunday, I left home. After about a mile, I realized that the engine didn’t sound right and the tachometer was holding rather high. Apparently, the Jetta decided that 3rd gear was sufficient for everything–stopping, accelerating, going 50mph, etc. It would not shift, nor would it allow me to shift. I had to stop the vehicle, turn it off, and turn it back on (always a hassle, given that turning the key requires a complicated dance of holding pliers in one hand and contorting my other arm so the remote portion of the key can be held against the ignition). The same thing happened yesterday, although I realized what was happening almost at once.
On the bright side, this vehicle will prevent me from becoming a bank robber–a skateboard would make a more efficient getaway vehicle. Can you imagine trying to make a quick exit in a car that requires two hands and total concentration to turn on, and which periodically goes on shifting strike? And on top of that, the car is theft-proof! A car thief would likely sue me for emotional distress caused by the trauma trying to make this car work.
I’m almost impressed by how many problems this car has. Bravo, Volkswagen! You must have worked very hard to build a car that is so incredibly terrible.
Bottom line: This car is a piece of crap. I will not pay a cent to fix what should never have broken. Volkswagen obviously does not stand behind their product. Fine, that’s their choice. My relentless campaign to make sure that anyone who considers buying a Volkswagen is aware that they might as well burn their money is my choice. To paraphrase William Congreve, “Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned by the manufacturer of her lemon car.”
To which I received this response:
Thank you for your response, I’m sorry to hear you are now experiencing shifting concerns.
The Powertrain Limited Warranty covers the engine, transmission, drivetrain, and related seals and gaskets for a period of 5 years or 60,000 miles, whichever occurs first, for manufacturer’s shortcomings in materials and workmanship, from the in service date of 6/30/2011.
Due to the nature of your concerns, I recommend making an appointment at your local dealership. It is difficult to make proper repair recommendations without being able to take a good look at your Jetta.
Once the dealership has properly diagnosed the concern, they will be in the best position to determine if any repairs that may be necessary are covered under the Powertrain Limited Warranty.
If you need help locating your local dealer, you can locate a dealer here: http://www.vw.com/portal/en/dealers?context=Global.
We’d like the opportunity to follow up on your diagnosis and repairs. If you’d like for us to do that, please reply to this email with the name of your servicing dealership and your appointment date.
I look forward to hearing from you.
Customer CARE Advocate
True to form, the Jetta decided that temporarily malfunctioning wasn’t sufficient. When I turned the car on last night, it was not displaying what gear I was in. Instead, it lit up the engine light and the wrench symbol by the odometer. Apparently displaying the gear was too much trouble, on top of the engine light and wrench symbol. It can only put forth so much effort, and coming up with new things to break requires a lot of work. Once in drive, the car would not shift gears. I don’t know what gear it was in, as Jetta seems to feel that is confidential information. I’m assuming it was stuck in 3rd, as that’s what it’s been getting stuck in. On the one hand, I find it unlikely that the car would bother to pick a new gear; on the other hand, I wouldn’t put it past Jetta to screw up as frequently and as variably as possible. I had a fun drive home, going 25mph in 55mph zones to keep the tachometer from going into the red zone. Thankfully it was fairly late, so I didn’t have a hoard of angry drivers honking at me. (Don’t tell Jetta I said that, it’ll make sure it breaks at a more inconvenient time next time.)
I woke up a couple hours earlier than normal so I could get the car to the dealership as soon as they opened. It was shifting, but the bad lights are still on and the gear light is still off.
So now I’m driving a loaner (yay! a car that is not a VW!!!) until the dealership is able to figure out what is wrong. This had better be covered under warranty, or I will be very displeased. Lucifer will tremble in the wake of my fury. Because contrary to Volkswagen’s belief, vehicles that are 2 years (and 1 month and 1 day) in use should not break. On the bright side, it was rather entertaining to watch someone else try to start the vehicle. Hey, that’s an idea–I should bring the car to Volkswagen’s headquarters and ask the head of the company to start it. If s/he is able to start the car on the first try, I’ll go away. If not, I get a new car that’s not a useless piece of crap.
The junker is at [dealership] in [city], New York. I would be more than happy to the scrap the vehicle if that would be easier, because I know how much VW likes doing things the easy way. Just let me know so I can get my things out.