We decided to sell our gently used Volkswagen Turbo S Beetle. We loved the car, but it was no longer practical for us, so we took it one hot September day to get appraised for purchase at CarMax.
Up until that point we had been a two Volkswagen household. In fact, I had been a VW lover and owner for years. My earliest car memories are of Volkswagens. When I was a baby, my mom drove a Beetle and then later had a VW Bus. After I graduated from college and had ‘real money’ to buy a car I bought a used Jetta from a family friend. Then when the A/C gave up on that car, I bought my first brand new VW - a shiny black 1.8T Jetta. I loved that car so much my sister called it “Nemo” (like the Disney fish), because I was so protective of it. I still had that car when we took our Turbo Beetle to CarMax that day in September.
The CarMax sales rep told us it would take about an hour to get the appraisal and offer written, so we decided to wait. My husband wanted me to walk around the lot with him, but I balked. It was hot and I was not interested walking around a cement parking lot looking at cars for no good reason. After all, I was perfectly happy with Nemo.
The only other car that could even tempt me would be a Touareg, but that was more like ‘my dream car’ and surely they wouldn’t have any of those at CarMax. No sooner does that thought pass through my mind, than my husband asks the rep if they have any Touaregs on the lot. “No”, he replied, “we never get those.”
I don’t know why, but he still managed to drag me out into the car lot anyway. I truculently surveyed each row of vehicles, dismissing everything as inferior to my VW. Then I turned down one of the last rows and there they were. Three Touaregs all in a row. Just as I saw them, I heard the footsteps of the sales guy running across the lot and before I turned around, he was there with three sets of keys in his hand. “We just got them in last night”, he panted.
Poor guy, he just ran all that way, I had to take a test drive. I wasn’t going to buy one though. After all, while I did like Touaregs, I really wanted a v10 and a gently used one of those are almost impossible to find. I was resolved not to consider anything else (those kinds of limitations makes it easier for me to say no, you see).
“So which do you want to drive first?”, he asked me, “the v6, v8 or v10”. The what??
Well I drove the v10 first. That was my mistake. I drove the other two and they didn’t compare. That made it easier for me, because I was convinced that no matter how much I loved it, I wasn’t going to like the price.
Now this is where, if you are shopping for an almost new car, CarMax really does have some good deals — they are aggressive with their pricing. Really aggressive. They make it hard to say no.
Here’s where the rationalizing began. I knew how rare it was to find that car with the majority of the factory warranty remaining and a clean CarFax report. And so my resolve was melting faster than a Popsicle on a July afternoon…
Hands down it was the nicest car I had ever driven, with more options and buttons than I had ever seen, and enough power to tow a 747 (you know, in case I’d ever need to). It was irrational… but I was done for.
That day I drove home in my glorious v10 TDI Touareg snowflake, unicorn, of a car.
Little did I know what awaited me down the road. Little did I know that Volkswagen had it in for me, as their customer and a consumer. A lifetime of brand loyalty would mean nothing and that I would become a victim of practices that I had no idea were rampant across all auto manufacturers in the U.S.
This is my story, but it could also happen to you. This is why I decided to document my journey & share it. If I can save even one other person from the frustrations, headaches & heartache I’ve had, then at least some good can come of this.