With all of the emphasis on the “Cash for Clunkers” program’s potential to get inefficient cars off the road (note, I said potential … we’re not going to blindly toe the government line at Ridelust, no sir-ee Bob), you’d think makers of highly efficient cars would be adjusting their production capabilities to take advantage of as many sales as possible. Well, despite being the highest volume seller of diesel cars in the US, VW is asleep at the wheel … or, should we say, on vacation at the wheel. TDIs are scarce, and the reason may surprise you.
Our colleague Sam Abuelsamid over at Autoblog was on the prowl for a Jetta TDI Sportwagen in the Detroit area, and found … squat. Frustrated, he asked a local dealer what the deal was, and this is the answer: VW is on vacation! The production line in Germany that makes the TDI engine has idled as their 2009 run of motors ended, and the factory shuts down in August so that workers can take that traditional European month-long vacation. (As an aside, don’t go to Europe in August – nothing is open.) The VW plant in Puebla, Mexico therefore can’t alter its production to meet the increasing demand for TDI cars, at least not until the German engine factory comes back on line. No word on when deliveries of TDI Jettas will resume for the 2010 year.
Of course, your experience may vary – no word on whether the scarcity is nationwide, but we can extrapolate that TDIs everywhere are probably hard to find. Let us know if you are experiencing the same thing where you live.