Advice on buying a new car

My wife and I looking to buy a new car (finally) and have decided we’d like a VW. We went to check out the models we’re interested in (Touran or Polo…wildly different, I know) and something the salesguy said has left me scratching my head. He told us the Touran TSI doesn’t come with an MP3 connector built in, it’s optional, yet the brochure he gave us has it listed as included in the standard package. I’m not sure which is right. Also, this is the first time I’ve bought a brand-new car and would love some advice on what I should look out for/ask about/etc.

my experience is the car salesman will not give you as much as they can, especially on the electronics. they’d “throw in” “free” stuff, such as mats and other things that don’t really cost them a thing, but if there’s a electronics, even promotional ones that’s on TV ads, they’d try to talk you out of getting it.

what you can do is ask for it anyway, saying it is listed as part of standard package.

also, get the door visor, they are supposed to be free. they make a difference when it’s raining.

Thanks, appreciate that. I didn’t know those door window visors were supposed to be free. I guess I’ll just have to tough it out and hold my ground with the guy.

Keep in mind car salesmen are the biggest liars out there. When I bought my car the salesman started with his shit. I did not negotiate. I told him what I wanted, no discussion.
The first dealer tried to neg, so I walked out. The second gave me the deal I required.

My advice would be to either: a) don’t buy a VW or b) sell it before it is off warrantee. I say this as a former Passat & Audi owner. Thank god they were company cars!

I think you already decide to get VW…here’s my thought about it if you are afraid of high maintenance cost and care so much about reliability then forget about VW, otherwise it’s a good car to drive. It handles well, quite powerful but low on annual tax due to low engine cc, thanks to turbo engine (which can be unreliable)…I have two VWs…unreliable yes, expensive to maintain yes (car battery cost $7000 vs. $2500 for accord, change transmission oil cost almost $10k vs. $3k for camry) BUT I just love to drive them…win some lose some… :wink:

Try to ask for 2012 old new touran / polo…they might still have some…huge discount!

My best advice, once again is to stay well clear of VWs unless you can accept all of the pitfalls of owning one in Taiwan, which are:

  1. Rapid depreciation, much higher than most local brands (unless you can resell to a friend)
  2. Rapid deterioration, much higher than any local brands. To reduce this you MUST keep it parked indoors at all times. UV and heat will kill its oil seals, plastics, wiring looms and more.
  3. Common issues gallor, especially relating to shoddy wiring and plastics.

Further advice:

  1. Sell it with six months warranty remaining. This will make it easier to stomach for the person taking on a used VW.
  2. Try and bargain the gearbox oil into the new car deal. You want to walk away with the bottles in hand. This is only if its a DSG gearbox as it’s ****ing expensive to have this changed at a VW garage in the future.
  3. Always have your gearbox oil changed once a year, regardless of what the service centre claims.
  4. Always change your engine oil every three to four thousand KMs, regardless of what your service centre claims.
  5. Never ever have your engine bay pressure washed at a valeting centre. It’s fine to do on a Japanese car in order to keep it clean, but it will murder your VW.
  6. Try not to drive it in heavy rain as water will quickly mess up your electrics. (Not usually an issue with a Japanese car)

If you are buying a VW for its aesthetic appeal and features, then I say go for it. If you are reading about how reliable they are in Europe and ease of maintenance, reasonable costs of running and strong residuals, then please forget everything you have read as none of it is relevant in Taiwan and is in fact just the opposite.

Good luck with your vehicle choice. I hope you enjoy whatever you decide upon.

:sunglasses:

Thanks for all the advice. It’s mainly my wifey who wants a VW. I’d prefer a Mitsubishi or a Toyota, depending on the purpose of the car. Her friend is trying to talk her out of the VW as well, so we’ll see how it goes.

Don’t

[quote=“sulavaca”]My best advice, once again is to stay well clear of VWs unless you can accept all of the pitfalls of owning one in Taiwan, which are:

  1. Rapid depreciation, much higher than most local brands (unless you can resell to a friend)
  2. Rapid deterioration, much higher than any local brands. To reduce this you MUST keep it parked indoors at all times. UV and heat will kill its oil seals, plastics, wiring looms and more.
  3. Common issues gallor, especially relating to shoddy wiring and plastics.

Further advice:

  1. Sell it with six months warranty remaining. This will make it easier to stomach for the person taking on a used VW.
  2. Try and bargain the gearbox oil into the new car deal. You want to walk away with the bottles in hand. This is only if its a DSG gearbox as it’s ****ing expensive to have this changed at a VW garage in the future.
  3. Always have your gearbox oil changed once a year, regardless of what the service centre claims.
  4. Always change your engine oil every three to four thousand KMs, regardless of what your service centre claims.
  5. Never ever have your engine bay pressure washed at a valeting centre. It’s fine to do on a Japanese car in order to keep it clean, but it will murder your VW.
  6. Try not to drive it in heavy rain as water will quickly mess up your electrics. (Not usually an issue with a Japanese car)

If you are buying a VW for its aesthetic appeal and features, then I say go for it. If you are reading about how reliable they are in Europe and ease of maintenance, reasonable costs of running and strong residuals, then please forget everything you have read as none of it is relevant in Taiwan and is in fact just the opposite.

Good luck with your vehicle choice. I hope you enjoy whatever you decide upon.

:sunglasses:[/quote]
Wow J, you amaze me, I also have had a few Passats in the UK ,which were fantastic and did many miles ,if serviced properly. Except for silly lower arm bushes ,never had any issues. Does this mean that Audi,Skoda (the flying penis logo) suffer from the same issues in Taiwan?. VAG group do intensive cold and hot climate testing?
Auto DSG box is rubbish,I know,but I thought that was the only issue. Never seen a Japanese car interior with plastics as good as VW yet…stay off the beer J !!.
My advice to the OP is to get an independent company or decent Garage (if you can find one) to check out all the deals available. As you have read,it can be a nightmare out there.I have seen that the Taiwanese will only refer you to friends,normally,irrespective of their reputation. It’s not a criticism…just how it works here.

I am with Sulavaca on this one.
While I love the Touran, I would / will refrain from looking into this one but focus self on the new CRV ( or RAV4)
Having owned VW’s and Audi’s in the colder north and being very happy, I wouldn’t put my money on imports from EU.
Unless VW produces here with parts which are “fit” and proven weather / sun resistant.

Now, some Japanese models also suffer from ensure here, but changing rubbers, plastic parts will cost 50% less than import.
I had a maintenance lately after 20K with my Toyota and paid 10k for a loooong list of to do’s. Count minimum x2 doing the same for a European brand.

Go Asian in Asian countries. Tell the wife the foreigners say so. Driving. VW does not bring face value ( unless its a phaeton or a Touareg…)

Good luck !

[quote=“shiadoa”]Wow J, you amaze me, I also have had a few Passats in the UK ,which were fantastic and did many miles ,if serviced properly. Except for silly lower arm bushes ,never had any issues. Does this mean that Audi,Skoda (the flying penis logo) suffer from the same issues in Taiwan?. VAG group do intensive cold and hot climate testing?
Auto DSG box is rubbish,I know,but I thought that was the only issue. Never seen a Japanese car interior with plastics as good as VW yet…stay off the beer J !!..[/quote]

I’ll put a video up in a bit, which I’m uploading to the Youbox at the minute, but basically it’s as I said. In the U.K. you could expect a VW to perform a little better than here in Taiwan due to its’ cooler climate being a little more plastics and paint friendly. The plastics and paint which VW uses is supposed to break down over time and be biodegradable. The major issue is however that the car biodegrades before you’ve even driven it for a considerable number of years.
I personally have never seen cars with poorer quality plastic components than VW, Audi, Skoda and Mercedes, in that order. The issues are still present on many other, particularly German brands, but these are the most common German car brands here which show the extent of the problem.

The difference of opinion I think you’re having is to do with the “feel” or finish of the plastics in these cars, which of course when new is very nice indeed, and yes, I would say initially much more desirable than many Japanese cars. German cars appeal to many people because of their tactile advantage. That advantage hides a couple of serious issues though and one is the way that tactile feel is delivered through soft-touch paint. This paint turns to glue at around the four to five year mark and it’s the reason that most Japanese cars don’t use it.
Also, the plastic itself in German cars is brittle, flaky and often held together with plastic welds as opposed to clips and screws, which is far less reliable.
Then you have the issue with the glue in most German cars headliners. This glue just breaks down too over time and almost always results in a saggy headliner and any cloth door trim lining. This issue is most prevalent on VWs and related brands, and not so much Mercedes. It takes a few more years to start noticing this on Mercs, but it’s still an issue when compared once again to any Japanese car.

A bit of a rant. Sorry, it goes on a bit. Still getting used to doing videos by myself, but you might get the idea.

Edit. In the video, I mention that the glove box cost 40,000NT for a replacement. We did eventually find a supplier who was willing to provide one for 7,000NT.

You’ve got the right idea. There’s only two ways to buy a car in Taiwan. You either buy new, or you buy an old beater. Anything in between, and you’ll surely get ripped off(unless you network and find a private seller that’s eager to unload). Stick with a car that is built in Taiwan, preferably a Toyota or Honda. You could also consider a Hyundai, Nissan, Mazda or Ford. Buy a non offensive color and try to go with a 5D model (holds value much better). A new facelift version is always desirable, as fashion and style will ultimately dictate what your car will be worth down the road.

I wouldn’t tend to necessarily agree with all your points there.
Firstly, I don’t recommend old beaters to people as a beater by definition tends to have bean beaten up, or be considered to be in a very poor state of repair. This is not an advisable method of travel and can at times be quite dangerous.
Certainly there is nothing wrong with an older vehicle, as long as the vehicle is relatively safe and preferably reliable. For many people of course they will prefer to find a vehicle with a reasonable set of safety features too such as airbags, and it tends to be the case that some older vehicles are not fitted with the safety features desired.
Anything in between a new car and an old beater is not necessarily going to be a “rip-off” as you suggest. Perhaps you have had a bad experience purchasing mid priced cars in the used car category, but I can assure you that there are some excellent deals to be had in all areas as long as one is diligent enough to look carefully or use a trusted professional who is.
Taiwan built cars are indeed popular and most often the best selling models on the island, but they don’t always offer the purchaser exactly what they desire. I should know as I bought a Toyota Prius. Many other posters here I know also purchased foreign imports. Presently I drive and have for sale a stunning Toyota Corolla. These were also all imported through the U.S. after manufacture in Japan. This was the most popular model of car in Taiwan during it’s sales run and still stubbornly holds it’s value today if in good condition. Where I would agree with you in regards of residual value or quality of Taiwanese versus foreign is when I inevitably mention Euro models, which often suffer high depreciation and fast degradation of materials versus many Taiwanese models.
As far as new facelifts in used models; These aren’t always the best deal you’re going to get in a used car. Remember, by the time a car becomes “used”, typically around the three to four year mark, it’s already just about to be superseded by a “facelift” or “all new model”, so then is certainly not the best time to purchase the latest facelift model as it’s about to loose a chunk of it’s value by becoming an “older” model.
I would tend to advise people who were looking for the best bang for the buck to consider a model two generations old so as not to suffer as much depreciation over the ownership term. This does however depend a lot on the desires of the buyer when it comes to aesthetics and functionality of the vehicle as some newer trim versions may differ at times in functionality.
In terms of depreciation I would say that there are a couple of things to consider. One is how long the vehicle is intended for use. I think it’s fare to say that a vehicle is generally going to loose the greatest amount of value in the first year of ownership if purchased from a dealer.
The dealer will have spent [hopefully] money and time preparing the vehicle for resale and this equates to a higher mark up price than a vehicle which is sold by the former owner. The used car or new car dealer also has to cover the costs of their premises and this also adds in to the car’s value. This added “value” cannot be recouped however and will seem like quite a loss if re-selling the vehicle in the short term.
Typically it is more advisable to purchase and run a car for at least three years. This is time enough to enjoy the vehicle, benefit from it’s reliability, and yet not take such a sting as either selling it in the first year and taking a large percentage loss on the vehicle’s value, or selling it many years down the line when the vehicle has often built up a great number of issues and may be difficult to sell on.
That last point is not always necessarily true, but it is often the case that local service centres do not often keep vehicles in good working order and so older vehicles can become a bit of a minefield when sourcing. Buyers know this in Taiwan and tend to stay away from older vehicles if they can’t judge their condition.

You mention a couple of points which I’d agree on for the benefits of resale. A non offensive colour of course makes the likelihood of resale quite a bit higher as any colour such as black, white, or silver is going to be easily palatable by the majority of people. Also a five door is now far more popular in recent years than it was a decade ago and now will likely add to a vehicle’s desirability to practical minded people.
For those hunting for an older used car though, over the ten year mark, at this time there are very few models in a three or five door configuration but for more commercial styles of vehicle or SUVs. Hatches and rear doors were not popular many years ago as they were considered “working man’s vehicles” and not upper class enough. Many locals also used to assume that vehicles with hatchbacks and rear doors were far less safe than saloon cars due to their squat rear ends, offering less rear impact absorption space. [Insert ironic comments here].

Fashion and style simply isn’t always the greatest reason for one model over another in Taiwan. If this were true then Toyota wouldn’t be the biggest seller by far. What people prefer in Taiwan (speaking very generally of course) is functionality, practicality and reliability. This is the general rule of thumb. Of course there is a market for pretty cars, but if good looks were a strong reason for sale over anything else then I think it’s fair to say that we would see far more French and Italian cars on the road, which we don’t.

The mentality in Taiwan is a little different. Cars lose 50% of their value after 5 years where I’m from cause people value things like warranty,new car smell, and just owning something spanky new. The Taiwanese could care less about such things and rightfully so. Therefore, the depreciation curve is very gradual here until it hits the 10 year mark. I’ve done the math, and owning a new car for 5 years, is not much more expensive than owning a 5 year old car for 5 years. The real deals come at the ten year mark and they’re still great cars. If you don’t agree, why bother changing your oil every 3 months to save the engine on an otherwise useless car.

I would only buy a face lift, five door, non offensive color, if buying new. Used, I’d do the opposite. For example, I’d buy a White Yaris new, but not used. A Vios is a much better value second hand. It can be had for almost $100,000 less!! Much like a 4 door March can be had for 1/2 the price of a 5 door. A hatch is not that much more practical than a sedan, but it looks better. Here’s where fashion comes into play. The same girls you see at the department store getting their boyfriends to buy $50,000 purses, are the same ones at the Toyota dealer demanding the Yaris cause it’s “cuter”. However, I agree that looks can only get you so far. Otherwise, VW’s would command premium prices. But they’re absolute junk, so they don’t.

I’ll stick to my assertion that one should only buy Taiwanese. First and foremost, the build quality and locally sourced components are world class. Taiwan is a manufacturing powerhouse on par with South Korea and Japan producing some of the most sophisticated electronics in the world. They know a thing or two about building things here, and cars are no exception. Also, as you mentioned; they’re popular. Which is a good thing, as parts are cheap.
I’ll make an exception for the Prius as it is an exceptional car and very reliable by all accounts.

Anyway, if you’re looking for a car I’d recommend the Toyota Tercel. It has been officially hit with the ugly stick and can be found roadside special around the island for dirt cheap. If you can’t fit in the Tercel, consider a 4 door Civic or Accord. But again, any old car built in Taiwan is good. A lot of people driving old Fords, Mazdas and Nissans happily. Even taxi drivers. Happy motoring.

[quote=“lakers4life”]I’ll stick to my assertion that one should only buy Taiwanese. First and foremost, the build quality and locally sourced components are world class. Taiwan is a manufacturing powerhouse on par with South Korea and Japan producing some of the most sophisticated electronics in the world. They know a thing or two about building things here, and cars are no exception. Also, as you mentioned; they’re popular. Which is a good thing, as parts are cheap.
I’ll make an exception for the Prius as it is an exceptional car and very reliable by all accounts.[/quote]

I’m afraid I can’t agree. Taiwan produces almost no cars without the help of the Japanese, unless you are talking about the brand Luxgen or TOBE which are pieced together from all sorts of poor components from all over the world albeit with several made in Taiwan. Build quality on these cars is not much different from the build quality of many Chinese built cars and their residual values as well as recent popularity show it. They gained a reputation pretty quickly for shoddiness and I’m afraid it’s now going to stick for some time. Taiwanese do not build the best cars, but they can assemble some pretty good Japanese cars, often using whole engines and gearboxes which are assembled in Japan.
Would I compair Taiwanese manufacturing and design of cars to those of South Korea? No. Not really. The process of building a long successful brand image has long been forgotten in Taiwan, and they’re really just starting to get their feet wet again in this area. Yes, perhaps some Taiwanese companies produce a host of quality components for many manufacturers of cars all over the world. It doesn’t mean that because of this that they can automatically build great cars though. Even Taiwanese generally prefer cars which are built in Japan to those which are built locally. They recognize that the Japanese offer better build quality and often build cars to safer standards. This is usually reflected in even used car prices down the line as Japanese cars tend to hold their values better than Taiwanese alternative models.
It’s interesting that you mention the Tercel. I agree that this is a great little car which can be had for a reasonable amount of money.
Getting back to the Japanese comparison. The Japanese Tercel has ABS, four engine mounts, an improved air intake manifold and injection system and anti roll bars. The Taiwanese built Tercel does not… This is just one example of the difference between builds.

There are a number of models which can be found at “dirt cheap” prices. I would advise people to be careful and take caution when choosing from the plethora of roadside wheel-deals however as many and in fact most of these cars can be found in very poor states indeed, requiring a great number of repairs to make them safe and reliable. You take your chances with roadside deals, as indeed you do at even places like SUM, SAVE, HOT and all the other so called “Approved Used Car Dealerships”. There are few dealers indeed who actually take time out to go through their own vehicles with a fine comb to weed out any potential issues before sale. You’ll typically have to do that yourself, or use a professional to assist.

Taiwanese build great cars for every manufacturer, not just the Japanese. Hyundai and Ford are also top notch. All you have to do is look around and you’ll see thousands, many 20 years old or more. Even cabbies use them. That’s a cutthroat business with low margins and you can’t survive with a crappy car. I have yet to see a VW taxi here. Ultimately, most cars outlast their appeal nowadays. Eventually, most Toyotas will end up in the scrap heap cause they need something like an alternator. Perfectly good cars; but they’re old, outdated and unwanted.

As for safety, there’s nothing wrong with 10 year old cars here. In fact, most look perfect underneath with little or any rust. A good test drive will reveal any problems. First sign of a suspension problem, take it down to the mechanic and have it completely rebuilt. CHEAP CHEAP CHEAP. I haven’t done any routine maintenance on a car since I got here. It’s kinda like cooking. Why bother? Cudos to you for surviving and thriving in Taiwan as a foreigner with a repair shop. It’s ridiculously competitive.

[quote=“lakers4life”]The mentality in Taiwan is a little different. Cars lose 50% of their value after 5 years where I’m from cause people value things like warranty,new car smell, and just owning something spanky new. The Taiwanese could care less about such things and rightfully so. Therefore, the depreciation curve is very gradual here until it hits the 10 year mark. I’ve done the math, and owning a new car for 5 years, is not much more expensive than owning a 5 year old car for 5 years. The real deals come at the ten year mark and they’re still great cars. If you don’t agree, why bother changing your oil every 3 months to save the engine on an otherwise useless car.
[/quote]

I agree that depreciation here is very slow, but I think that is due to a lack of supply of ‘nearly new’ cars. In Europe the bulk of new cars are bought by fleets (car rental / lease companies) and sold young, but I think that’s a much less significant part of the market in Taiwan. Personal buyers tend to keep their cars longer, so a 1 or 2 year old car is harder to find here. That in turn boosts the value of cars 3 - 4 years old and so on.

From what I understand, the manufacturers run the entire food chain here, including rental fleets and used car lots. Car rental is big business in Taiwan. I’ve inquired at various companies about purchasing, but they always end up at the sister company car lot.

Yes, I wouldn’t confuse this with Taiwanese cars though, as technically they aren’t. I’m afraid I was confused between the distinction between cars built in Taiwan and Taiwanese cars and parts though. There are some huge differences between these assertions. There are some great parts produced in Taiwan, yes. For example KYB shocks, which are very decent standard dampers produced in Taiwan and Japan and the U.S. But then there are other Taiwanese brands which can be quite awful. There are so many to choose from that it’s not easy for me to whole heartedly agree. I have tried many and I have the experience to know when to use which brand on which model car, but I wouldn’t say they are all good.

I have seen a VW taxi or two as well as Ford Mondeo Diesels :ponder: but they don’t last long as taxis. I always love to ask a taxi driver what he or she thinks of their car and also ask them what goes wrong with it as it’s always in my interest to get the low down from the most frequent users and drivers in Taiwan, and yes, taxi drivers love Taiwan built, or Japanese built cars. They tend to get very angry and frustrated with European Fords and especially with the repair costs and frequency of repairs with Skoda and VW.

Safety is relative. You are talking about the safe function of an older car, and yes, I’d agree. There need be nothing unsafe about an older car in this context. Of course for the safest cars however, then there is nothing like a recent build Japanese car which can offer the reliability as well as top safety ratings. Taiwanese built cars are not safety rated.

Thanks for the Cudos. The only reason I survive is because I provide something which other service and repair centres don’t try to which is thoroughness and attention to detail. Many of my clients prefer the proactive approach to servicing rather than the “wait 'till it breaks” approach of many owners. For some reason there are some people who value their safety much more than others as well as find it an inconvenience to be stuck at the side of the road with a dead car.
Of course I also take a lot of sourcing cases, which requires me to find suitable, reliable, and relatively safe vehicles for clients so that they can save money by purchasing used over new, while maintaining the level of presentability, usability and suitability of the car in question. I know of no other business with this service officially listed as their primary function.