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An open letter to Paul Willis, MD of Volkswagen GB


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Apologies to other members for using the board for this purpose, but I think it is important that you all are aware of one Touareg owner's nightmare with Volkswagen.

If you feel similarly to me, I urge you to speak up. If not, feel free to flame away.

Mr Paul Willis

Volkswagen Cars UK Ltd

Yeomans Drive


Milton Keynes


MK14 5AN

16th July 2004

Dear Mr Willis,

RE: Volkswagen Touareg, [reg no. here]

Once again I find myself writing to you out of sheer frustration with the absolutely woeful service I am receiving from Volkswagen and its appointed representatives.

Despite many, many visits to the dealer’s workshops my Touareg is still not in satisfactory condition and you (VW) seem to have totally given up on me.

Last week (week commencing 5th July 2004), I put in no less than three calls to the service department at VW Ridgeway Reading to outline some continuing concerns with the vehicle that I wanted them to take a look at – I will outline these issues shortly. After no-one had returned any of the three calls, I then put a fourth and final call into Simon McLaughlin, the dealership manager. Unsurprisingly, Simon was not available, but I did later get a voicemail from a deputy (whose name I did not catch), apologising for the unreturned calls and promising that Simon would call me on Monday 12th July to sort things out.

At around 4.45pm on Monday, tired with waiting for Ridgeway to get off their backsides, I put a call in to Volkswagen ‘Luxury’ Cars customer care and outlined the debacle to “Roger”, who promised to look into things and call me back on Tuesday to arrange a hire vehicle and to get my vehicle into the workshop to be sorted. Roger also very explicitly stated that “you can expect us to do a far better job than Ridgeway”.

Well, Mr Willis, it’s now 11.45am on Friday 16th July and despite chasing Roger myself yesterday (and leaving an admittedly terse voicemail message on his phone), and I have not heard a thing from Ridgeway or your ‘Luxury’ Car customer care team.

What on earth can you possibly say in defence of VW and your representatives? Or does Volkswagen simply think that it is acceptable to not return customer’s calls and not give a damn about whether we are having problems with vehicles that we have purchased from you.

It shouldn’t matter whether I’ve bought a Polo or a Phaeton, but let me remind you that I paid over £38,000 for my Touareg. For that kind of money, Volkswagen is simply taking the piss with your current service levels.

After the fruitless swapping of letters and phone calls in February 2004, I really had hoped that VW might take a look at itself and realise that it must do more to meet the needs and expectations of luxury car buyers. I was obviously very wrong.

Can you please tell me what it is that I have to do to get decent customer service from Volkswagen; because right now I feel like I’m bashing my head against a brick wall.

I promised to outline my current issues with the car; they are:

1) Transmission very slow to kick down and jerky at slow speeds (since replacement of transfer box)

2) Excessive vibration coming from drivetrain (since replacement of transfer box)

3) Excessive fuel consumption since replacement of transfer box

4) Ongoing rattling from cold on dashboard

5) Ongoing rattling on centre transmission tunnel around gear selector

6) Ongoing ‘popping’ noise from tweeter housing at front of driver’s window

7) Yet more cracked wood on door trims

8) Rear bumper valance not aligned properly

9) Electronic ‘convenience’ setting ‘lost’ every week or two

10) Noisy aircon vent driver’s-side rear passenger

There are a number of other niggles, but these are the main points that I feel I have a right to expect to be fixed. So I lay down my final challenge to you; fix my car or give me my money back.

Mr Willis, I am fed up with complaining to you in private. As you may or may not be aware, I run a website called myTouareg.co.uk – which is an online forum for UK Touareg drivers. While the vast majority of us love our cars, many drivers agree that the service they get from their VW dealers is well below par. As such, I am posting this letter to my forum (along with any and every other I can find) and I am sending a copy of this letter to all the major UK motoring magazines.

If Volkswagen thinks it doesn’t need to worry about a single customer, then I hope I can gather enough momentum among other disgruntled customers to make you finally sit up and take notice.

Yours very frustrated.

Matt Fisher

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I wish you luck - I think it is such a shame Mr Willis has an organisation that doesnt appear to care - now I say this because my Bora will be my last VW as I cannot be bothered with the agravation of getting it repaired, I have trim falling off, rattles, flickering dash lights and random griding noise from the from offside, car stalls with no warning even at speed (70mph on M1). Dealer cant give me aloan car that spans over a weekend, which means I have to mess my day up to get my car in and then does it get fixed - have a guess, in fact I just live with the faults with mine as I cant be bothered to go through the whole VW customer care routine, having had 7 VWs in just over 2 years I figured they may want to retain the business, but alas not, in fact the general standard of expertise at VW dealerships is just astounding in its inneptitude (again in my own experience), but it is critisised time and again in the various owner surveys, but never seems to be any action taken.

Anyway for me I had better sevice from vauxhall (my last cavalier lasted 135k miles before it had a problem, my record in a VW is about 2k miles), so I guess I will be looking back to the 'lower quality brand'

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Me as well! I bought my R32 from an Audi dealer and I really like that dealership unfortnuately I have to go to VW to get it sorted.... as per my other post I visited my Local VW (Inch) yesterday and the attitude towards me and my 'issue' was nothing sort of disgusting.

It was like I didn't matter in the slightest, they just didn't care that I had an issue and wanted me out of there.

Quite the opposite to the way I'm treated at Stirling Audi with my A3, who've always been very nice - back to Audi for my next car!!!

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I know my brother had quite a few problems with his Touareg, think he blew the transfer box into pieces as well as it locking him out and draining the battery even though thats impossible to do ooo.gif

He was always pleased with the way it was dealt with though as they always brought him a replacement Touareg immediately.

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I got a call last Saturday (17th July) after Sarah at Luxury Cars read the letter on my website (so before the mailed version even 'dropped through the door'). I explained to her what had happened and I have to say that she has been great so far.

The car was collected by Motorworld Oxford on Thursday last week (I don't want anything to do with Ridgeway Reading any more) and VW kindly arranged for a shiny new V10 to take its place while it's away (crikey, that V10 is a beast, but that's a different story...).

I'm expecting an update from Motorworld tomorrow, so fingers crossed.

In terms of a 'response' from Paul Willis, I had a crappy acknowledgement of receipt of my letter, but nothing more.

I have no respect for the MD of a company who chooses to hide behind his front-line staff and dealers. If I were in his position I would make sure I made personal contact with a disgruntled customer; but then I don't run VW UK...

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