Q: “Is this a good time to buy a new Volkswagen?”
—Janice, Kelowna, B.C.
A: You may be surprised to learn that VW’s gas models continued to sell fairly well through November 2015, the bad news notwithstanding. That’s because VW has attractive financing offers—from 0% to 3.9% for 84 months. They just introduced a $0-down lease that will cover your monthly payments until February 2016, to ensure your car lease doesn’t compete with your holiday shopping budget.
You won’t be buying a new diesel, though. Volkswagen has ordered dealers across North America to stop selling them until they resolve their high exhaust emission issues with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Environment Canada. If you really want a diesel, your options are limited to independent dealers and private sellers offering used models. That said, the wholesale price between dealers has dropped significantly, but retail prices not so much. The safer bet is to wait until January 2016, for regulators to approve the fix promised by VW. A few weeks after that, the supply of both new and used diesels will likely return to historic levels.
The APA believes that compensation will be limited to owners current to September 2015, when news of the emission violations became widely-known. Consequently, a recent purchase would not qualify for the $500 gift card VW is handing out to diesel owners.
There is always the risk that more skeletons will come rattling out of VW’s corporate closet, because the culture of win-at-all-costs appears to have been ingrained at the company. However, with the current level of scrutiny by government and public interest groups, VW is more likely to be discovered and called to account (i.e. more penalties and more owner compensation) than competing brands. This means that you’re probably safer choosing a VW now than at any time in recent history.