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Volkswagen R32, Volkswagen Golf, Hatchback
#63 of 245 tough sale at $28-32k
Jan 30, 2003 (11:11 am)
I like VWs, always have, but I think a Golf (no matter the iteration) will be a tough sale in the US Market beyond VW enthusiasts.
At $28-32k, they will be competing with many nice cars that can do what the VW does in many ways, with subtle differences:
Infiniti G35 Coupe and Sedan
Subaru WRX (STi?)
2004 Mustangs - the new All-American Sport Car
Mercedes Benz C230 Hatch (under cutting a VW by $4k? Less engine, more MB)
BMW 325 - Sure it is stock w/o options, but still a BMW
Saab 9-3 (cheaper by a min of $3k to start?)
Dodge Neon SRT-4 (215 hp at $20k, it isn't direct competition, but a reason to think that a $30k Golf is kinda silly)
Mini Cooper S
Lexus IS300 (if price is the same, what makes more sense? for an everyday driver?)
All that, and we haven't even considered most of the lesser cars that are more sedate, but also less expensive...that makes for a lot of competition for a spec Golf.
I think selling 5-10k models shouldn't be too tough, that is about 20-30 cars per dealer, IIRC, for the year. But the R32 is more of an oddity than a market shaker.
Still, I would love to see the car in person, drive it and let the games begin.
At $30k, the market is just too chuck full of alternate choices that either save money or offer something the VW Golf doesn't - mass-market appeal in the US.
A hot-body Jetta would have been a better sale in the US, since Jettas outsell Golfs here like 4 to 1, if not more.
#64 of 245 interesting comparisons
Jan 30, 2003 (11:22 am)
I've thought the same - there are lots of cars in this price range to consider. The R32 is unique in that it has a usable hatchback, AWD etc.
Another thing to consider is the Golf V will be here about a year after the R32 debuts. The V is supposed to have this same drivetrain configuration as the R32 available.
I'm on a waiting list for the R32, my $1k deposit is fully refundable so if I don't decide I want one...
The one car on your list of comparables that I'm really interested in is the Mercedes C230k except in the sedan version - Mercedes just came out with the Kompressor engine in the C sedan with a 6 speed - I've driven 2 of them and I'm totally impressed - they start at $27k - it comes standard with 17" wheels and sport suspension.
Jan 30, 2003 (11:06 pm)
For me, it is mostly just talk. As much as I might like to, without a significant promotion, I am not in the $30k car market. I am considering a year-end sales event purchase of a discounted Volvo V40, or a VW Passat Wagon. Something in the $21-22k range...maybe even a Subaru Legacy, if the price is right.
They fall a sight short of the fun factor, but get a few extras in the utility category for me. My current BMW 318ti is fun, but a bit too small for me and I can't afford the 325ix Sportwagon nor the Audi A4 Avant (silly Audi forcing all Avant buyers to get quattro).
If you like the MB, you might want to watch them close as the YE approaches in October. Last year I almost bit at a C230 Hatch with a $4000 rebate. That's gotta kill resale a bit, but I want to hold my next car for 8-10 years and buy a fun second car after car #1 is paid for...maybe a convert or something.
I would love to be able to justify a R32, but anything over $25k is just not real for me, and I highly doubt that VW can bring it here at that price.
One last thing, I am still waiting (hoping to know more by YE) to find out about BMW's 1-series. If it is worth it, I might just hold onto the TI for another year and take Euro Delivery on a 1-series. Always been a dream of mine.
Just think, if BMW brings the 1-series here, it should be around the 160-170 hp range at prices in line with a Jetta and I4 Passat(high side). Rumor has them also launching an M-series with a turbo4 pressing 220+ hp. I figure that one runs the $32-35k range...out of my ballpark, but might be in yours.
Isn't window shopping fun?
#66 of 245 was gonna buy a 1.8T Golf...
Jan 30, 2003 (11:11 pm)
until they started making them on this side of the ocean. I like the Jetta, but poor builds seem to be a little too common. I would have liked a Golf (having started my driving career with a Rabbit), but only if it was German-built. Now, the only VW I will consider for my long-term green is the Passat, still built in Germany (like the R32)...
Jan 31, 2003 (6:45 am)
I have a Brazilian built 02 GTI that is well made, nicely put together and dependable. Fit,finish and build quality is fantasitc. I doubt anyone could tell a build quality difference between a German made Golf and a Bazilian one or a Mexican Jetta for that matter. VW builds the same quality car no matter where it's put together. The problems with Jetta's and GTI's are with a couple of the parts that VW suppliers build which aren't sourced in Mexico or Brazil - the window regulators and coil packs. VW finally redesigned the window regulators (and extended the warranty to 7 years on them) and is still struggling with the coil packs - the worst one's were made by Bosch - in Germany. I haven't had either problem with my 1.8t GTI, but expect I will at some point - in any case I won't blame the Brazilians that built it.
Jan 31, 2003 (10:31 pm)
You are right, I don't have all (or any) of the facts. I just have read a few too many horror stories regarding Jettas.
I still think that Hanz and Franz might be a little more proud of their work. Anyhow, I hear the 1.8T motor is hungarian built to begin with...its a global economy.
I do know that early builds in Brazil and Mexico were nothing to brag about...guess old stereotypes die hard.
I apologize if I offended.
#69 of 245 R32 or Golf V? Just think about it...
Feb 01, 2003 (5:45 pm)
Pure and simple, I'm gonna wait another year for the newer and nicer Golf V body style that will have all the same goodies of the R32 available and then some!
I don't see myself dropping a whole lot of money on a body style that will be discontinued that same year.
It's pretty sad how we'll be just getting the R32, while the Golf V's will be sold in Europe at the same time!
Doesn't that really suck?!
#70 of 245 Where built?
Feb 01, 2003 (6:38 pm)
Acutally my window sticker says that my 2002 GTI's 1.8t motor was built in Germany while the tranny is from Argentina. Parts content was 50% Brazil, 40% German, 2% North American, and leftover 8% is in the "not required to be listed" category.
The only Hungarian-built car I know of from VAG that is sold in the U.S. is the Audi TT.
#71 of 245 harlequin...
Feb 02, 2003 (9:14 pm)
if fun and utility are what you're looking for you should try shopping for an '03 Subaru WRX wagon. You could probably get into one for dealer invoice right now as they are trying to make room for the new '04's coming in a couple of months.
#72 of 245 practical missing link
Feb 04, 2003 (10:32 pm)
I agree with the line of thinking above VW could sell a less expensive and more utilitarian car than the R32 in much larger numbers. However, the R32 was there to be exported and they probably figured at this price, even if it takes away from other VW/Audi sales, they will still be making a lot of money.
My choice for a more utilitarian but still sporty car that is missing in the US lineup is the AWD Jetta wagon. The Jetta wagon has over 1 more clearance than the Golf, and probably over 2 more than the R32 so it is also a great option in snow country. They could sell a beefed-up turbo with 200-225hp instead of the VR6 to keep the price down and fuel consumption low. A somewhat sporty AWD wagon if priced right, i.e., well below the A4 and Passat AWD wagons - would take tons of sales away from Subaru. As a consequence, VW/Audi could stop worrying about such models taking sales away from the A4. And follow Subaru (or the special edition Golfs) on this model: keep the options simple. E.g., make leatherette, cold package and CD standard.
I have stated this here before, I am worried about the low clearance of the A4, and thus will probably purchase a turbo Forester since the AWD Jetta Wagon is not available in the US.
By the way, Bremi, not Bosch, made the failing coil packs.