Volkswagen Carefree Maintenance Program Makes For A Smile

I do not own stock in Volkswagen, nor paid to do PR work for them.  But I am mighty pleased to again shine a light on what I think is one amazing car company.  When I am treated right, and some one makes a positive impression I feel some sense of duty to highlight it so others will also know where quality can be found.

Today I took my car (purchased in Jan 2011) for an overall check up to make sure tires and belts and battery were all as they should be.  Since the car only has 8,400 miles I asked the service manager about the need for an oil change, which is due every 10,000 miles.

He told me that it would be a good time for an oil change.  In the office when he added the oil change to the original reason I was in for service I asked for an estimate.  He smiled, looked back and me, and said “there is no charge”. 

“But I am having my tires rotated,” I reminded him, and as much indicated that there must be some financial transaction that needed to take place.

It was then he told me that the Volkswagen Carefree Maintenance plan covers any new car bought from 2009 or since, and at 10,000, 20,000, and 30,000 miles the oil change and filter, along with the entire checkup including tire rotation, battery check, topping fluids, etc are performed at no cost.

When buying my new car I must have been told all this, but since VW’s are so well constructed and reliable I have not had any reason to think about maintenance, or re-read that portion of the car manual which I covered after the purchase.

Walking out of the service garage with as much money in my checking account as when I arrived, and knowing this will happen for the next couple years for the same service is just another reason I love Volkswagen.

I was reminded upon leaving the dealership today that the last time I was in for an oil change with my previous car I started looking on the lot, and bought a new one that same afternoon.  It was a most unexpected and impromptu purchase that was unlike anything I had ever done before.  That made smiles for Zimbrick in early 2011, and seems to still make for a good story among the guys working there now.

Bottom line for anyone thinking of a new car purchase–take it from one who has driven several VW’s since 2003—there is no more solid build or dependable and comfortable drive than what can be found with a Volkswagen.

And then there are those oil changes that will make you smile.

Volkswagen has every reason to believe it can be the top car company in the world.

Why Does Dan Neil Sexualize The VW Beetle?

Being it is Sunday, and cloudy, cool, and wet weather hangs over Madison I am getting caught up on my reading.  One newspaper article however has not enlightened me as much as ticked me off.  Granted, there are many topics that make for emotional and at times frothy posts on my blog, but this one is also tinged with just plain disgust.

On the front page above the fold of the “Off Duty” section in Saturday’s WSJ was the headline grabbing font of “The Beetle Mans Up”.  First and foremost the term ‘mans up’ is so laden with gender expectations that it should only be used by those people who let the hair from their back curl up around their hairline.   That is not the term I expect used in a national newspaper with serious readers, and I certainly do not appreciate the tone it imparts for a larger audience.

But there it was.

Dan Neil had a long article on the new VW Beetle that has hit auto showrooms around the country.  The classic look and feel of the traditional Beetle that so many have loved over the decades has been shed for the coupe-like shallowness of the new car that is supposed to appeal to men. (GAG.)

The article by Neil is perhaps one of the most sexist pieces of ‘journalism’ that I have spotted in a newspaper in quite some time.  I provide a sampling.

About two-thirds of New Beetle buyers were women, the highest percentage of any  car on the market. That’s a problem because, as any car dealer will tell you,  women will sometimes buy a man’s car but men rarely ever buy a chick car.

I’m not sure giving away Beetles on the last of Oprah’s “Favorite Things”  shows helps advance the stud-bug meme, but let that go.


In order to qualify as more manly, the Beetle should do what, exactly? Leave the  seat up? Play fantasy football? These were not options. So in addition to a  shape that’s less, well, ovum-like, the Beetle is cut. Note the vertical  surfaces at the wheel arches and the crisp defining light lines around the  cabin’s greenhouse, as well as the chamfered hood line. Note also that the  bumper-breather grille is wider and more aggressive, more like bared teeth.


With a 0-60 mph pace of about 6.8 seconds and all the visual snarl, the Turbo simply radiates machismo, sort of like Justin Bieber in a muscle T.

And on and on it goes….

Within days of the new Beetle hitting the local market I made a trip to the dealership where I have purchased over time not one, but three new Beetles.  I love the classic look  and drive of the car, and think I fairly understand the reason people own and admire them.

People drive a VW Beetle as it looks different and sets them apart from most other cars on the road.  They are fun and spirited vehicles that zip around, can be parked almost anywhere, and get noticed.  Within the past month a lady asked to take a picture of my car at a local grocery store.  Last weekend a guy gave me thumbs up at the mall.  Just this past week two women at a stop light on East Washington smiled and said hello to James and myself.  Clearly the Beetle has a fan base.

Yes, Dan Neil I have owned three Beetles, and still use the men’s room at the shopping mall.

I can also say that it is easy for me to be lured into car shopping and making deals.  The latest version of my Beetle came to be parked in my driveway earlier this year after browsing during a simple oil change at my favorite dealership.  I saw a new car on the lot, it attracted me, and I traded the one on the oil rack in two hours.  So I am easy.

But when I looked at the new coupe-like plainness of the latest Beetle I had no more desire to test drive it than I did to hurl a stone at, Aeros, the name of our current car.    Yup, Mr Neil each car has a personality and gets a name  at this home, and I still own a jock-strap.

I find it insulting in 2011 that placing gender roles on cars is even considered a topic of conversation.  I find it even more outrageous that a national newspaper would allow for the sexist review of a car to be published.

Now having said that I will try to find some quiche in the kitchen to further confirm the troglodyte notions that Dan Neil seems to hold for men like me who drive a Beetle.

Bite me.

Volkswagen Magic With “The Force”

Pound for pound, dollar for dollar…….

…nothing is better than a Volkswagen.

Two recent commercials for Volkswagen products are among the best of those now advertising cars on television.

This first one is a hilarious advertisement.

The next one makes one wonder what is in store for consumers…….

VW Wants To Be World’s Largest Auto Maker

Today I understood, yet again, that I am truly a minority.  For the most part, I am always fine with that distinction.  

For instance, when it comes to automobiles I love German engineering and the styling of Volkswagens.  In the past decade I have owned only VW’s, and swear I am never driving domestic again.  There just is no comparison with comfort, under the hood precision, lack of problems once purchased, or price for the whole package.    Driving on the roads alerts me to the fact I am  not in the majority as a car owner, but it was not until today that I discovered just how out of the mainstream I am.

In the all-important U.S., the VW brand clings to just 2.2% of the market, trailing even Korean upstart Kia.

With news that VW has a business plan in place to take over as the world’s largest auto maker comes a concern from guys like me who like to be just a little unique in everything, including the cars we own.

“A lot of people worry that we are going to start making VWs for the masses,” says Mark Barnes, VW’s U.S. chief operating officer. “I like to say we’re going to bring the masses to VW.”

Time will tell.

The retooled compact sedan marks the first time VW engineers have designed a model specifically for the U.S.

Next year, a new family-size sedan is scheduled to roll off the assembly lines at a newly built $1 billion plant in Chattanooga, Tenn. It is VW’s first U.S.-made car since the 1980s. On its heels comes a revamped New Beetle.

 To get there, VW has to prove that it is capable of producing cars with mass-market appeal, something no European auto brand has achieved in the U.S. in recent decades. It is seeking a tricky balance: preserving the whimsical aesthetic and German engineering expertise that has won it a core base of Volkswagen loyalists, while broadening its appeal to mainstream drivers of more generic but trusted rides from the likes of Toyota and Honda Motor Co.

“I don’t need VW to make another Toyota Camry clone,” says Matthew Kleczewski, a 33-year-old information-technology specialist in Pewaukee, Wis. He says he bought his 2008 VW Rabbit hatchback for its taut handling and attention to small engineering details, such as rear windshield wipers that automatically start if he reverses while the front wipers are on. If VW wants to tout its German engineering, it should bring to America more of what it sells to European drivers, not less, he says.

And I agree!

Million Miles In A VW Beetle

In 1965 at age 23 John Mahoney picked up his new VW Beetle in Germany.  He drove through Europe and put 20,000 miles on the car.  In July 2009 the car crossed the million mile marker, as the odometer rolled over for the 10th time.  Here is the story.  The pictures of the cute little bug will bring back many a memory for some of my readers.  For others it might stir up ‘what ifs’ when it comes to the classic looks of the car that so many around the globe love.

Once linked to site above navigate to page 48 with the system, and with the ‘zoom’ icon read the story.  Not the easiest site in the world to read….but still worth it!  They make better cars than they do web sites!

And a reminder VW Beetle will end production next year.

VW Beetle To End Production

Hat tip to Marion.  (Though it came more like a slug to the stomach.)

I love the VW Beetle.  In fact, I am driving my second new Beetle in less than seven years.  I think that the Beetle, inch for inch, pound for pound, dollar for dollar is one of the most enjoyable, cute, and economical cars to own and drive.  To hear that there is to be an end to the production of these cars makes me sad.  The news comes this Saturday from Marion, at the same time as I open my mail with Season’s Greetings from my friends at Madison’s west-side Zimbrick Volkswagon dealership.  I am most sincere that the guys at the dealership who replace my headlights or give the car an oil change are among the most respectful service personnel I have ever known.  I am mighty picky about my car, so having others treat it as I do means a great deal.   My car salesman from 7 years ago still knows my name and all sorts of crazy details about me after all these years, and makes me feel like my car needs are more important than the sale of any vehicle.   How much better can it be than that when making such a purchase?


When I talk to others about the VW Beetle I  mention solid engineering, seats that are comfortable for longer trips, amazing sound system, great gas mileage, ease of driving and parking, and the nice looks it gets from others on the road.    I know sales have not been what was hoped recently, and the marketing for the Beetle did not generate the hype that had been desired.  So the Beetle production will end come next spring.  If you are out there and always wanted a Beetle, and think the current model is perfect for you, than let me advise you to get to the dealership come spring as there will be deals to be found.  No dealer will want somethign that even though new, appears ‘used and old’ on the lot.

The Final edition VW Beetle will come with a sport tuned suspension, unique 17-inch wheels, and an Aquarius Blue paint job, which looks an awful lot like the Heaven Blue available on non-Final edition Beetles. According to Autoblog, the New Beetle Final edition will cost $20,240 for a hardtop and $27,170 for a convertible.  Be aware however the final edition will be limited in numbers for sale.

So let us take a moment and recall together…..

This next one may have been the best commerical I ever saw for the VW Beetle.  Language need not be understood to smile warmly at this great advertisment!

This spot below in a yellow car makes me smile as I recall some similar memories on Old Sauk Road in Madison.

Beetle Bailey and me in 2003…for short we just called the car ‘Bailey’.  The license plate is in French, and translates to ‘My Dream’.    I think that makes the statement more clear than anything else about my love of the VW Beetle.

In 2008 ‘Azure’ came into our life, and I admit there was an emotional farewell as we moved on with a new model.