Help deciphering a letter from our VW dealership
November 18, 2004 4:29 AM   Subscribe

We got a weird letter from our VW dealership in the mail yesterday, and I need help deciphering it. [mi]

Here's the letter (all emphasis is theirs, not mine):

"Dear Valued Customer,

[Dealership], in [city] [state], has been designated as a site to conduct a special test marketing pricing and financing event. Your vehicle status qualifies you for this private sale.

We are in need of acquiring several pre-owned Volkswagon vehicles by November 30, 2004, in order to fulfill special vehicle requests. You have been identified as the possible owner of one of these vehicles and our new car managers have been authorized to buy back your current vehicle at above market prices.

We would like to exchange your vehicle for any new 2004-2005 vehicle from Volkswagon. Or choose from any one of our clean late model pre-owned vehicles from most every make and model. With factory incentives and high trade-in at least 110% of fair market value, we feel confident that you can make this exchange with little or no money down and with a monthly payment that fits your budget. Due to current interest rates this could possibly lower your monthly payment. Financing starting as low as 0% APR* for 60 months will be available or incentives of up to $3500 on selected models during this event. Also, participants will receive $1000 loyalty rebate through VCI on all 2004’s and $500 on all 2005’s.

Please stop by or give us a call at [number] to schedule a convenient appointment and allow us the opportunity to make you an offer. A visual inspection is required to offer you the highest possible price.

Due to the high demand for these vehicles and your ownership status, this event will not be advertised to the general public. This will be your only notification.

Please bring this letter with you as verification of program participation.

* on approved credit"

I can translate the marketing speak, but I don't understand the promotion. Is this normal for VW? Or, since my wife drove an insanely hard bargain with them when we bought the car 2 years ago, do they just want to get us in the dealership in hopes that they can actually make money off of us this time?
posted by Irontom to Shopping (16 answers total)
Uh... They'd like to sell you a car?

(the rest is a standard come-on)
posted by jpburns at 4:42 AM on November 18, 2004

Yeah, I think it's really just a trade-in offer that's been dressed up with aggressive language.
posted by LairBob at 4:52 AM on November 18, 2004

they're just saying "buy a car from us and we'll take your old car in part exchange".
posted by andrew cooke at 4:53 AM on November 18, 2004

i think that car manufacturers need for there to be X amount of used cars on the market, and when that balance goes askew, they do promos like this go get you into a new car, and get your used car into circulation. i'm not sure of the math behind this but my dad got these all the time as an early Saturn adopter.
posted by glenwood at 5:12 AM on November 18, 2004

A few years ago, a friend of mine traded in his black Jetta (high trade-in) for a Passat and lowered his monthly payment in the process. So what they're saying is possible.
posted by falconred at 5:50 AM on November 18, 2004

A friend received an almost identical letter from his Honda dealer about his 18 month old Honda. As stated above, they think they can make enough buying back and reselling your car to justify selling you a new car at a supposedly large discount.
He ended up with a new car, lower payments, better mileage and a better warranty.
posted by TomSophieIvy at 5:59 AM on November 18, 2004

Yeah, but what's the point of lower payments if your total debt load increases?
posted by mecran01 at 6:16 AM on November 18, 2004

This is a standard marketing tool used all over the country at all kinds of dealerships. The companies that do this sort of thing in Minnesota will send out 10,000 of these letters, hoping that about 100 will call or visit the dealership. The dealership pays about $1000 for this promotion.
posted by Coffeemate at 6:19 AM on November 18, 2004

That's not automatically good or bad, mecran01...sure, as a general rule, you don't want your debt load to get out of hand, but if the new debt is still within your reasonable limits, you've got lower monthly payments, and you're even happier with your new car, it's not automatically a mistake.

That being said, I'm _not_ trying to encourage people to borrow beyond their means. 99% of the time, I think people pursue this sort of thing to their detriment. But it's just not _always_ a bad move.
posted by LairBob at 6:21 AM on November 18, 2004

"... I need help deciphering it."

This letter translates to English, very roughly, as: "spam spam spam. spam spam, spam spam! spam? spam spam spam, spam, spam spam. Buy now!"
posted by majick at 6:29 AM on November 18, 2004

Yup, I just got a similar letter. (Boston, MA). VW has a ton of 2004s left over and the 2005 are on their way. First it was 0%. then it was tons of cash back. Now this. Seems like a pretty good deal to me. I'd take them up on it except our Golf is paid off, and new paymets (no matter how good of a deal) doesn't appeal right now.
posted by rschroed at 6:36 AM on November 18, 2004

I think it's a standard come-on dressed in funny language, but as someone who was just car shopping, I can state (as rschroed noted) that VW is downright awash in '04 models. Some places near us are offering over $6500 cash back on Passats (an amount that puts the new cars under many of the late model used prices).

Unless your utterly uninterested, I see no worries in at least checking it out. I get the sense you could just about make any crazy offer and they'll consider it. Plus, I think VW was offering a $1000 owner loyalty kickback if you already had a VW, and that appeared be in addition to the money mentioned above.
posted by jalexei at 7:55 AM on November 18, 2004

No dealer needs more cars, new or used right now, particularly GM, but I'm sure VW is probably in similar straits. Customers who specifically want a particular year/make/model of car will go through a broker or go direct to the auctions. Now, if they were willing to buy, rather than "exchange", it could almost be believed.
posted by tommasz at 9:21 AM on November 18, 2004

You can't cheat a car salesman.
posted by plinth at 11:22 AM on November 18, 2004

If your current car is paid for, or close to it I'd say forget it. I have only 1 or 2 payments left on my Odyssey, and a paid for Civic. Our cars aren't brand new, but we love them and they are Paid For. It feels GOOD not having a car note to fret over.
posted by Scoo at 10:26 PM on November 18, 2004

What everyone else said, with an addendum:

A lower payment amount (or even the same monthly payment amount and a new car) is good, but do you end up paying a that (equal/lower) amount for a longer time? If so (and I'd bet heavily that this is true), then what looks like a good deal for you turns out to be just fine for the dealer.
posted by WestCoaster at 12:39 PM on November 19, 2004

« Older How do I recover from an all-nighter?   |   What are some good pop culture blogs? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.