Is $10,500 reasonable for a 2004 Volkswagen Jetta TDI?
April 15, 2010 6:00 PM   Subscribe

Is $10,500 reasonable for a 2004 Volkswagen Jetta TDI? It's in very good condition and has 135,000 km. He'd be selling it certified and e-tested. The seller is asking $10,500. I countered with $9,500, and he came back with $10,000 not certified. How much does certification usually cost? Would I be wise just to go with what he's asking so everything's done?
posted by Joseppi to Travel & Transportation (19 answers total)
Is this a Volkswagen Dealership? If not, how are they certifying it?

Or, what do you get with a certified car versus one that isn't?
posted by gjc at 6:03 PM on April 15, 2010

Shop around for whatever certification entails. If you can find that service elsewhere for less than $500, use that as leverage. Also try to do the same for the car generally: not just that make and model, but comparable cars per Edmunds etc.

If the seller is an individual, he doesn't need your continuing business like a dealership does, and isn't limited to one location like a dealership salesman is. He has little incentive to compromise if he thinks he can get more money from someone else (barring time constraints). You, however can counter by gathering information for low cost from Edmunds, Craigslist, etc.

If the seller is a dealership, save money by beginning the sale and then telling them flatly that you won't pay whatever miscellaneous fees they tack on. Dealerships are static. Don't be afraid to let them know you can and will go elsewhere, and have shopped around on price/value.

At the same time, leave them some margin. Insulting someone drastically lowers the chances of a sale.
posted by Inspector.Gadget at 6:18 PM on April 15, 2010

how are they certifying it?

That's a red flag, learn what the exactly the seller means by 'certified'.

For price comparison, see - Cars for Sale/Wanted as well as their general discussion forums and the TDI FAQ

From a quick look at, I see a range of prices from $10-12k.
posted by limited slip at 6:20 PM on April 15, 2010

You'll need to clarify what type of certification is on offer.

Prices can vary from region to region and obviously from car to car, but the price you have seems pretty reasonable for the age (and very low odometer).

Also try to do the same for the car generally: not just that make and model, but comparable cars per Edmunds etc.

This is a diesel Jetta; there is no comparable car sold in North America (other than Golfs and Passats, of course).
posted by ssg at 6:30 PM on April 15, 2010

there is no comparable car sold in North America

The OP has many, many comparable cars to choose from in the majority of situations; all that needs to happen is that you, OP, need to be either (a) indifferent to diesel vs. gas or (b) able to estimate the premium/deduction to price that you need to be satisfied with one or the other.
posted by Inspector.Gadget at 6:39 PM on April 15, 2010

That price is in the general range for a good condition Jetta TDI of that vintage. You'll need to +/- it based on various factors. Mainly 135k km is a lot of kms. I would expect that to bring it down a bit... but you should still be able to get another 135k out of it if it's been taken care of...
posted by jeffamaphone at 6:40 PM on April 15, 2010

Mainly 135k km is a lot of kms.

For a TDI, at least in Canada, not at all. Anything less than 30K km per year is not much. You won't find many six year old TDIs with only 135K km on them.
posted by ssg at 7:29 PM on April 15, 2010

Be warned that 2004 is the tail end of a rather bad period for VW/Audi. Cars of this vintage have been known to have...issues. I drive an Audi from this period, and although it's safe, fun, and reliable, it sure is high-maintenance. VW parts tend to be on the expensive side.

That said, the good news is that VW Diesels have been known to last virtually forever, which is why they retain such a high resale value. The 2.0L TDI introduced in 2005 packs quite a bit more power if you can find one from that year.
posted by schmod at 7:32 PM on April 15, 2010 [2 favorites]

Agreeing with schmod. Anecdotally, 100% of the three people I know that purchased brand new Volkswagens of this generation spent thousands of dollars in repairs that were not covered under warranty, later selling them at a huge net loss. Caveat emptor.
posted by biggity at 8:37 PM on April 15, 2010

In my opinion, if it's a dealer certification it's probably not worth it, I'd rather have the extra $500... unless it's a certified pre-owned offered by VW itself, as is here.
posted by spoons at 9:25 PM on April 15, 2010

Response by poster: It's just though a private seller. When it's certified I believe they just make sure there's nothing major wrong with the car. So it could be perfectly fine and nothing would need to be fixed or replaced which would be beneficial to the seller, but if there was any that had to be fixed it'd fall under the seller's responsibility so it'd benefit me. I've only been looking for a couple of weeks and I don't want to jump on anything too quickly as I've got a few months to make a decision. But I've noticed there are only so many Jetta TDIs at around that age (I'm hoping for something in the 2003-2005 range) that have low kilometres and aren't overpriced. I really want it for the fuel economy; otherwise I'd probably look at another brand. I've heard very good things about VWs diesels but I am also aware that their replacement parts can be pretty pricey. I will more than likely keep looking at this point as I'm not 100% sold on VWs (but it's pretty darn close!).
posted by Joseppi at 10:02 PM on April 15, 2010

If you're mostly interested in fuel economy and aren't firmly wedded to the diesel idea, consider a Scion xA. I've got a 2006 and got 41 MPG on my last tank of gas. The Scion xB can get nearly identical mileage, but looks like a Kleenex box on wheels (which some find attractive.) Scion is built by Toyota, but so far I haven't heard or read of any brake/acceleration issues; both cars are noteworthy for their reliability, build quality and owner satisfaction. Best of all, they're not German cars, which are expensive to own, maintain, and in some cases (Porsche, Mercedes) insure. I bet you could find a Scion with comparable or lower mileage for a lot less than $10, 500.
posted by motown missile at 11:46 PM on April 15, 2010

no Scion in Canada.
posted by defcom1 at 12:06 AM on April 16, 2010

agreeing with schmod & biggity. having owned a volkswagen Golf IV, i can tell you i'll never buy a vw again if it's not under dealer warranty. it was like a "things should fall apart and break now" timer went off a week after the warranty ended.
posted by SeƱor Pantalones at 1:21 AM on April 16, 2010

Get it "certified" yourself by taking it to your mechanic and getting it checked out. Should cost less than $100.
posted by wongcorgi at 2:53 AM on April 16, 2010

If jettas keep their value like toyotas do it should be worth $9k from a car dealer. So if this is not from a volkswagen dealer it would be worth about $7k (i got my 2004 corolla values from the yellow book that insurance companies use).
posted by majortom1981 at 4:23 AM on April 16, 2010

We also got burned on a new Jetta with lots of problems....
posted by toastchee at 6:25 AM on April 16, 2010

@majortom1981 Like others have mentioned here, Diesel Jettas hold their value unusually well -- probably better than any other non-exotic car.
posted by schmod at 6:34 AM on April 16, 2010

From a private party? I wouldn't pay that much.
posted by gjc at 5:24 PM on April 16, 2010

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