Having owned everything from a '74 164 to a '05 S60 R to a '10 XC90 (and countless Volvos in between), I'm now done with the brand, save my 164, but that's only because I've got way more in it than I could ever get back selling it.
I've been in the market for a new or slightly used vehicle for the past 2-3 years. My requirements? Manual transmission, room for 3 car seats in the back seat, room for all my kid's stuff, and fun to drive. Remember back in the 80's and 90's when Volvo used to make safe, fun-to-drive, versatile manual transmission wagons that were faster than they looked and affordable? Well, it turns out they don't make them like they used to. Well, actually, they do . . . Volvo of North America just refuses to import them (V60, V40, etc.).
When we had our third child 2 years ago, my wife was insistent on getting a vehicle with power-sliding doors & power-lift tailgate. Features that Volvo didn't/doesn't offer, which necessitated that we look elsewhere for our family's needs, which led us to the Volkswagen Routan. Now, I'll be the first to admit that the Routan is really a Chrysler Town & Country that's been re-worked to look and ride like a VW (and thank God for that) for the North American market. I wasn't happy having to get rid of our XC90 to get the Routan, but such is life.
After waiting for the right V70R to show up for myself, and realizing that those cars were just getting older and just acquiring more and more miles as I waited for the right specimen, it dawned on me that Volvo NA isn't interested in keeping the business of customer's it'd earned from the 80's and 90's. The manual transmissions? All but gone, unless it's a useless 4-seater of course. And the diesel the Americans have been begging for nearly a decade? Still not coming over here. So the product offering has diminished, the infotainment technology is still a decade behind, and the price is . . . well, it's ever-increasing, for a product that has less and less to offer. So I decided to start looking at other brands to see what they had to offer me, since Volvo clearly wasn't interested.
This led me to consider BMW (335i sedan), Audi (A3/A4Avant), VW (GTI, Sportwagen, Golf, etc.), Subaru -- all of which were able to offer me what I was looking for. Meanwhile, my wife's VW Routan (err, Chrysler) started having recurring transmission problems that the dealer just couldn't seem to fix. That said, our local VW dealer offered a level of customer service that was unprecedented in my experience -- and this is coming from a former Volvo car salesman with 6 years in the auto industry.
Our VW dealer bent over backwards, and went far above and beyond what was expected of them to ensure our satisfaction with their brand (even though the Routan wasn't really their brand). EVERY time, my wife was given a loaner vehicle free of charge. Toward the end, the dealer would even deliver a loaner vehicle to us (a 30-minute drive away from the dealership) to swap out with the Routan. The last time, we asked if they had any Jetta Sportwagen TDI's in their loaner program that they could bring us (since it was a vehicle we were considering for myself). They didn't, but they pulled a brand new car off the lot & delivered it to us in place of a loaner. Their customer service single-handedly won my business.
It all came to a head about 2 weeks ago, when our Routan was back in service for the 6th time, culminating in 30 days out-of-service in the past year. I went to the dealer, informed them the car qualified for Lemon Law, and made them an offer: trade me out of the Routan, and get me into two new Jetta Sportwagen TDIs with nothing out-of-pocket on my part, and I gave them a combined monthly payment that was only slightly more than what we were currently paying on the Routan. It was a low-ball offer -- after all, I could only go up. Well, they got VW of America involved and trade-assisted me out of the Routan and into two new 2013 Jetta Sportwagen TDI's for only marginally more than my low-ball offer. I was floored.
So here I am, a lifetime Volvo owner, who is now the proud new owner of two VW's. Instead of buying used out-of-warranty Volvos to replace the Routan, I've now got two brand new cars, with full warranties, and inclusive service for the first 3 years, and the best customer service I've ever experienced to boot.
Volvo NA, you need to get your act together. If you can lose the business of a loyal customer like me, imagine all the business you're losing from folks with less brand loyalty.
To this community, I say thank you for the years of enjoyment I've shared with you. I'll be spending the majority of my time over at vwvortex now. And if anyone wants to make me a crazy-high offer on my 164, I just might be in the mood to get rid of it.