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Thursday, April 23, 2015

I purchased my 2010 VW Jetta TDI Cup at the end of 2010. I love my car.

German made, synonymous with made to last, right? Maybe my expectations were too high.

My 2010 is out of warranty but I don't drive it much.

It had less than 40,000 miles on it when, one day I turned on my car and the central panel didn't light up. And, it's not like I sit in my car all day long listening to my radio.

I thought it was a fuse.
No hands free phone, no radio, no clock etc.

Before taking it in I did a search on the Internet and to my surprise I found that it probably wasn't just a fuse and that apparently a lot of people had this exact same issue with their radios just going dead.


I called VW and told them my situation and they graciously told me to take it into a dealer and have them look at it and that they would take care of me. They gave me a case number.

The VW dealership told me it wasn't a fuse but the radio had broken. They also told me that VW had generously offered to cover half my cost of replacing the radio. Instead of $600, I would only have to pay $300.

I was also told that they would only cover half the costs if I replaced it with exactly the exact same radio. Really?!

I told them I didn't think the radio should just break (isn't it usually the last thing to break on a vehicle?) and because it appeared to me that this was not an uncommon occurrence and my car had less than 40K miles on it, that perhaps they should consider replacing the radio. But, if I was going to pay half the costs of replacing the radio perhaps they could replace it with a radio that didn't have a reputation of repeatedly going out on customers.

They told me that sometimes radios just break. They told me that an Internet search doesn't really show them much of anything and that they keep track of how many radios break and that they didn't show that there was any indication that the radio that went into my car had issues.

I asked them what % of cars with that radio model from the years 2010 and 2011 would have to malfunction before it would cause them to think there was an issue with the way the radio was built. Libby, the customer rep said she didn't have access to that information. I asked her if she could direct me to someone who might have that number. She still has not written me back.

I went to the National Highway Traffic Safety Association and found hundreds of complaints about the same issue:


I am writing this blog post and doing social media as I would like Volkswagen to tell me the number of cars that have reported this same issue and what is the number of cars that need to have this issue (%) before they consider it faulty manufacturing and take responsibility for either refunding the costs of the radio and its replacement to the customer or covering the costs of replacing the radio with one that doesn't have this issue.

What did I end up doing? I gave them $300 to replace the radio with the exact same radio I had before because I didn't really know what else to do.

Oh, and the radio they replaced it with? It was a refurbished one. The radio they removed from my vehicle was sent back to be rebuilt to go into someone else's car who had a faulty radio. I only know this because I wanted to know where my beloved Flop cd's were.

Actions: If you have had this same issue Twitter #VWRadioRecall and if you like you can also DM me  your VIN. I don't mind starting a list should they ever step up with an answer. Also file a complaint on the NHTSA website about losing your radio and handsfree bluetooth access.

Update 4.24.15 Just received an email from Libby regarding my request on what they considered an Acceptable Quality Limit and she told me that information was not accessible to her nor was there anyone in she knew of in her company that could provide those details to a customer.

"Thanks for writing back, I appreciate your question. There is not a customer-facing resource in our company who is able to provide the details about how our data is used to issue recalls. If there were such a person, I would have gotten you in touch with them since it is my goal to address all of your questions and concerns as fully as possible.
For more information about this topic, I would suggest the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). If you would like to pursue your questions further, you can reach out to them and learn more at their website here: http://www.nhtsa.gov/
If there is anything else we can help you with, please let us know. We can be reached at www.vw.com/contact.

Libby A.
Region Case Manager