2001 Volkswagen Beetle GLX from North America

General Comments:

I bought this 2001 Beetle for my wife this past September. After the first couple of days we noticed a strong odor coming out of the vents. We turned the recirculation switch off and this still has not helped. We have tried sprays that you spray in to the air intake to kill mold and odors and this still has not helped. Fe-breeze and air fresheners only cover up so much, but the smell is still there and it gets on your clothes. I contacted VW through their website and was told that I needed to contact my dealer. But by looking at different websites, I see a lot of other VW owners are having the same problem.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know

Review Date: 10th December, 2005

12th Dec 2005, 10:09

You need the Air-Sept treatment. The dealer will need the car over night. Hopefully it will solve the defect. You might want to check the price on the service, before you sign the workorder.

18th Sep 2006, 21:22

I have a 2001 1.8T beetle. Since I bought it (new) there has been a slight odor from the a/c, kind of like an burning oil smell. While it hasn't bothered me, my mom finds it really offensive. I thought it was because of the synthetic leather seats, but now I think that it is not.

Just wanted to add this. I don't think it is a mold related smell, and I live in south florida.

5th Oct 2006, 16:47

I also bought a 2001 beetle, and have the same crayon/burnt oil smell. I wouldn't be "bugged" if I were sure it was not harmful. It stays on my skin & hair the rest of the day. I don't want to get rid of the car because I love everything else about it. Anyone know what it could be?

2001 Volkswagen Beetle Turbo 1.8t from Australia and New Zealand


Lemon - stay away


Right rear bearing - tow required at three months

Window regulators (x2) - six months

Sunroof made a sharp cracking sound - no repair despite dealer visit

CD head unit (x1, but 12 (!) dealer visits to "fix")

Diverter valve (x1, but three visits to fix)

Coil packs (x1, more to fail) - tow required at 53,000

Driver's seat showed excessive wear on the piping despite careful ingress and egress. My wear and tear.

General Comments:

I know that every manufacturer has its lemons and I had one. However, VW Australia's dealer service was customer hostile mostly due to VW Australia's service policy of "we will only replace an item after we have seen it broken, and only after calling you an idiot or blaming you first, and you must come back at least twice", taking many more visits (21 in total, only three of which were for regular servicing) than absolutely required to fix.

The bearing rusted out after three months, despite it being a "lifetime" part. The original dealer tasked to find the problem failed to find it. The third party service centre I took it to found it immediately and refused to let me drive it any more as it could have caused an accident due to four way play - the bearing was nearly dead. Two and a half weeks off the road, and no loaner car, and no repayment of car hire fees. No satisfaction from calling VW Australia to complain - they listened and did nothing.

Towards the end, I was getting more comfortable with the reliability until the coil pack packed it in. This is a world-wide replacement under 7 year warranty extension... except in Australia. So after my warranty was up, I would have to shell out $480 per coil pack, even though it is a known fault with these coil packs. The car cannot be driven safely with only three cylinders as it safes itself, and so requires a tow. I got rid of the car within two weeks of that being fixed.

I knew by first name my local dealer's service staff and made casual acquaintances with three other dealers. I nearly lost my job due to so many dealer visits.

Unacceptable. I am NEVER buying a Volkswagen ever again. I have had five until that point, and run Australia's largest Volkswagen forum.

You have been warned!

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 29th October, 2005

5th Dec 2005, 13:58

Your comments seem to be relatively common regarding the newer VWs. It's such a shame, because a lot of their new models look sharp. A common response I hear is that new VWs are fun to drive, but reliability seems to be an issue. When a friend was looking into getting a second-hand New Beetle, I went to look at it with her. I mentioned the issue of reliability to the dealer. The sales staff was certainly aware of my concern and, looking over at the 1974 Beetle I arrived in, even quietly commented how quality was "not what it used to be." Incidentally, the sales staff, previously had an old Type 3 and currently drove a new Beetle. The sales staff did, however, further add that that the new 2006 models (new Jetta, for example) had an "80% improvement in quality." I sure hope so. There is no reason why VW can't be winning all the reliability awards Toyota current does.

My friend eventually did buy that second-hand 2002 New Beetle. So far she really enjoys it.

7th Dec 2005, 08:15

How does the dealer know there has been an 80% improvement in quality for 2006? It is still 2005. They can't get the 2.5l 5cyl engines to run well.

Problems don't crop up until many units are in-service for a while. 10k-20k miles. The big problems with the Mk IV chassis didn't show up until mid 2001, when it was released in the US way back in late 1999.

I would like to see the proof this dealer has on this supposed 80% jump in quality. What are they measuring? How are they measuring?

When people ask me about newer second-hand VWs, I point at the pile of work orders from my 2001 TDI (bought new) and tell them they are rolling a pair of weighted dice. They go read up on the issue, then end up with an 'Asian' car.