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Volkswagen is the German automaker best known for its two iconics cars made famous during the 1950s and 1960s, the Beetle and VW Microbus. Founded in 1937, the company continues to design sedans, compacts, hatchbacks and SUVs for a variety of lifestyles. You can still buy a new VW Beetle today with a fully-electric Microbus set to launch in 2022.
To help get people into new Volkswagen cars in the U.S., the company in 1981 formed its own finance subsidiary called Volkswagen Credit. Today, along with providing financing for new and used vehicles, Volkswagen Credit also offers leasing options and a variety of incentives. APRs and fees mentioned below are accurate as of the date of publishing.
While Volkswagen Credit doesn’t list specific loan amounts or rates on its website, you could use its payment estimator tool to get an idea of what financing through VW may look like. The APR for a 2019 Volkswagen Atlas, one of VW’s most expensive vehicles, for example, tops out at 11.9% for a 72-month loan with no down payment or trade-in.
VW also doesn’t specify minimum credit scores, but the best rates tend to go to those with the best credit. Manufacturers often consider a borrower’s credit history, income and the choice of vehicle. The median credit score of auto buyers at time of origination in third quarter of 2018 was 704. Those with a lower credit score are not completely out of luck — you could show potential lenders proof of steady employment and low debt to obtain what’s known as a “tier bump.” Many car manufacturers sort loan applicants into tiers but your tier isn’t dependent on your credit score alone; a large down payment, high assets or income may convince them you’re a safe bet for repaying the loan.
Those with the best credit may qualify for low or 0% APR specials, one of the biggest advantages of financing through a car manufacturer. We didn’t see any 0% deals at press time, but Volkswagen did have low APR deals, which can also vary by region. Volkswagen also offers an array of other incentives across all the brands in the Volkswagen Group.
Keep in mind that such deals can come and go and might not be available in your area or on the particular model you’ve been eyeing. Visit the Volkswagen website to see what offers may be available in your region.
There are two ways to apply for financing via Volkswagen Credit:
Online. You may apply for vehicle financing through Volkswagen without setting foot in a dealership. Fill out the online application and VW will email you with confirmation if you’re approved. In addition to knowing the year, model and trim of the vehicle you want, your down payment amount and whether you plan to buy or lease and trade in a vehicle, have ready:
You should be aware that this step involves a hard credit pull, which may affect your credit. Once approved, someone from the dealership will get in touch to have you visit the lot to get the vehicle and finish the rest of the paperwork. This checklist tells you what to bring.
At the dealership. When at the lot, the dealer will go through the same process as online. The difference being that while applying online, a manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP) will autofill in the application, but savvy autobuyers may be able to negotiate that price in person.
One of the main benefits of leasing versus buying is that you may be able to obtain a lower payment. It also might be a smart move if you prefer to switch out vehicles every few years. Volkswagen offers different mileage options to fit your driving habits.
Leasing, however, may not be for every customer. Those who lease will pay a significant amount of money on the vehicle, but the vehicle goes back to the dealership when the lease is over unless you decide to purchase the vehicle. There are also a variety of fees involved in a lease that customers have to be worried about if they exceed mileage limits or turn in a car with excessive wear and tear. For an extra amount, Volkswagen Credit does offer lease-end protection called Drive Easy. The warranty can cover up to $10,000 of excess wear-and-tear charges such as upholstery stains, chipped paint and tire wear.
You could read more about buying versus leasing here.
If you don’t qualify for financing through Volkswagen Credit or simply want to weigh your options, then the first place to check is your own financial institution. Banks, credit unions and online lenders provide loans with the potential to offer better financing than what is available at the dealership. Your bank may even provide a discount to existing customers. Most financial institutions will advertise their financing options via their website and can quickly approve you for a loan if you qualify.
You’ll be in a better position to negotiate at the dealership with your preapproved auto loan in hand. Dealers often raise customer APRs but you won’t know what you can get unless you shop around. You could fill out one form on LendingTree and receive up to five auto loan offers from different lenders based on your creditworthiness.
The name Volkswagen is German for the “people’s car” and the first design came from Ferdinand Porsche, the founder of Porsche automobiles.
There are 12 brands under the Volkswagen name making it one of the largest auto manufacturers in the world. The most well-known aside from the namesake are Bugatti, Porsche, Lamborghini and Audi.
In recent years, Volkswagen got a bad name when the carmaker admitted it had installed defeat devices on 500,000 diesel vehicles in the U.S. to cheat requirements by the Environmental Protection Agency. Certain VW vehicles were emitting nitrogen oxide emissions at levels 40 times higher than the EPA’s legal limit. However, in the time since, many affected vehicles have either been bought back or fixed.
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