|Quote, originally posted by invisiblewave »|
|... it seems to me that Jim's making a valid, Phaeton-specific point. For a "normal" vehicle, some extra engine noise or an occasional clunk from the suspension probably doesn't make any significant difference to the overall driving experience. However, as we're all well aware, in a Phaeton it does (if it doesn't drive like a Phaeton, there's no point in having it)...|
This is kind of a tough question to evaluate, if one tries to walk a neutral middle path and evaluate what 'reasonable expectations' are from the perspective of all three parties involved - the person buying the used car, the dealer selling the used car, and the dealer franchiser (the importer) who is supporting the dealer's sales efforts by providing the CPO warranty.
There are dealers out there, supported by their franchisers, who have done a very good job of keeping the 'premium' aura attached to their used car lot. BMW, Mercedes, and Lexus all have 'premium pre-owned' programs that market their 1 to 3 year old used vehicles (normally these are cars that have only had one previous owner) as being 'good as new', and both the dealers and the franchisers have a track record of supporting these programs well. For example, if you buy a 18 month old BMW 7 series trade-in, and you have a problem with a squeak or rattle during the first few months, they handle that problem in exactly the same way that the would handle it if you had just bought a brand new car from them.
What we seem to be failing to consider, in the case of the Phaeton, is that none of the Phaetons in North America today would qualify for inclusion in any of these premium used car programs operated by BMW, Mercedes, or Lexus, simply because the cars are too old. The newest Phaeton in North America today (a MY 2006 car) is now 4 model years old. The vast majority of Phaetons in North America today (MY 2004 cars) are now 6 model years old, and few if any of those cars are changing hands as 'one-owner' cars. Today, most Phaetons being sold have been owned by at least two previous owners. Let's not kid ourselves, these are well and truly 'used cars'. There's another post active on page 1 today entitled "W12 advertised for less than $20K". That's the current state of the market.
VW did do a pretty good job of treating the second owners very well during the period 2007 to 2008, when the bulk of the Phaetons imported to North America were acquired by second owners. I personally recall picking up (ferrying) a gorgeous W12 4 seater for another forum member who paid a premium price to buy a truly premium vehicle. The car had very low miles, and was perfect in every way. Phaeton Customer Care treated this owner as if he bought the car new, and his new dealer (located thousands of miles away) also treated this owner as if he had bought the car new. But, hey, that was in 2007!
I think we need to ask ourselves "What percentage of original selling price did I pay for this vehicle?" If, today, someone pays 50 to 60% of original selling price for a one-owner MY 2006 Phaeton - that being about the average percentage of original selling price that the BMW, Mercedes, and Lexus dealers get for their premium used cars - then yes, that purchaser has a reasonable expectation of premium after sales support. However, if the buyer is paying perhaps 25% of original selling price - that being what most third and fourth-hand Phaetons are changing hands for today - then c'mon, let's be realistic. We're buying third and fourth-hand used cars that are between 4 and 6 years of age, we're not buying premium used cars.
It might, then, be more realistic for the owner to say "OK, I'm getting a really good deal on this 4 to 6 year old top of the line VW (compared to a 4 to 6 year old top of the line BMW, Mercedes, or Lexus), so, I'm going to set aside half of my capital cost savings to look after minor nuisances that the dealer is not willing to look after due to the age and the low selling price of the car.