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I had a very odd experience at lease-end with my 2013 Passat SE. The lease is ending at the end of this month, and I decided to purchase the car. I had financing lined up and everything all set at the VW dealer where I initially leased the car, but on the day I was scheduled to sign the papers the dealer called to tell me they could not sell me the car. (!)

Apparently VW corporate issued a bulletin to all dealers stating that they cannot sell any vehicles with an open recall on Takata airbags. My Passat was recalled last month, but no parts are available and there is no timeline for the repair. As the dealer explained to me, when a VW dealer facilitates a lease purchase, the car is briefly in their inventory, and that prohibits them from selling it. VW's main concern is the liability they take on when selling me a recalled vehicle. The dealer then showed me 10 used Passats sitting on their back lot that they could not sell.

My next step was to call VW Credit, as they hold my lease and own my car. The people at VW Credit had no problem selling me the car as long as I purchased it independently and not through a VW dealership. I ended up financing it through my bank and buying it from VW Credit directly, sending the paperwork back and forth through the mail. It was a much slower process and more inconvenient than doing everything in one step at the dealer, but in the end I now own the car that I want, the car that I've taken care of and maintained over the past three years, the car that I had an excellent pre-negotiated lease-end price for.

Personally, I find this *very* frustrating. This is a complete CYA move for both VW and their dealers, and they are clearly only interested in protecting themselves. The way I see it, either the car is completely unsafe to drive and they should take it off the road and give me a loaner until the airbag is resolved, extend my lease until a fix is available, and then allow me to purchase the car after it is fixed. Or, they should just be OK with me driving the car and allow me to buy it through a dealer, perhaps with an added waiver where I agree not to hold the dealer liable for any damages that may come from the recalled airbag.

I got what I wanted in the end, but I've lost respect for VW in the process (if that's even possible these days).

Has anyone else run into this?
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