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Hybrids Sit Unsold While Diesels Command a Premium

What a difference half a year makes. At the peak of the gas price bubble last summer, hybrid vehicles were in short supply. Some dealers were tacking on thousands in “market-adjustment” ploys. And here we are, six months or so later and there’s a glut of hybrids sitting on dealer lots. An article in today’s LA Times spells it out in detail.

But in these crazy times, it seems, there are still vehicles that are commanding premiums over the Manufacturers Suggested Retail Price (MSRP). We’ve heard numerous stories about Volkswagen dealers charging well over the MSRP sticker price for new Jetta TDI clean diesels. And needless to say, it doesn’t make us very happy.

We can understand the demand. Our week-long 2009 VW Jetta Sportwagen TDI test drive proved the point … this is one of the best vehicles for the money in America today.

For the good of the brand – and for clean diesel’s acceptance in America – market demand must not be allowed to provoke greed.

If Volkswagen is to market their cars as the People’s Cars, they must exert pressure on their dealers to stop the unfortunate practice of selling Jetta TDIs for above MSRP. We fully understand that it’s tough to be a car dealer at the moment, but a smash and grab sales tactic sullies the brand over the long run, purely for short-term dealer gain.

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2 comments ↓

#1 Matt on 01.29.10 at 12:21 am

Rubbish. Toyota is selling huge numbers of Prius’s. And they should be commended for the innovation and quality that they put into this revolutionary car. It may not having the driving dynamics of a Jetta, but it’s sophomoric to ridicule it. The Prius’s success doesn’t detract from the Jetta TDI! Grow up.
Dealers should be proud of the TDI. Just hold the line and refuse to pay the “market adjustment.” It’s a game of chicken.

#2 mpg-o-editor on 01.29.10 at 1:27 pm

@Matt – Not sure what you’re calling rubbish. The LA Times story clearly spelled out the drop in sales figures over the specific timeframe. Where are you reading ridicule towards a fuel efficient vehicle?

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