The VW Beetle popularly known as the Bug is an iconic car that was in production for many years and became the global symbol of German engineering. It was simple, practical and affordable which made it very successful in virtually every market in the world including Kenya. It went out of production in 1974 but came back as the New Beetle in 1997 which never really hit the market as expected and was again retooled in 2011 as the Beetle A5.
The VW Polo is a popular mini hatchback that has been in production from 1975 and sold in markets worldwide. It enjoys considerable success in Kenya but faces stiff competition from cheaper Japanese alternatives that have dominated the market for a while. These include the Toyota Passo, Nissan March, Mazda Verisa, Toyota Vitz and Mazda Demio
The VW Tiguan is a compact SUV that has enjoyed considerable success in Kenya over the last couple of years. It has perennially been overshadowed by the more popular Japanese rivals and has never broken into the big league per se. It's a crossbreed between the Touareg and the Passat, combining the desirable features of both worlds. It’s unique selling points have been comfort and safety but new rivals such as the Mazda CX-5 and the Subaru Forester are fielding all these plus more. Other competitors include the Nissan X-Trail, Toyota Rav4, Mitsubishi Outlander and Honda CRV.
The VW Passat is popular in Europe especially in the UK where it ranks among the most popular family cars. In Kenya, its mildly popular having been overshadowed by the cheaper Japanese alternatives. It was at one time a government standard before it fell out of favor with the powers that be. It competes with the Toyota Avensis, Subaru Legacy, BMW 3 Series, Mercedes C-Class, Audi A4 and Toyota Mark X.
The VW Touareg is a capable mid-sized SUV that entered production in 2002 to serve a niche market that was initially dominated by BMW and Mercedes. In Kenya it received a lukewarm reception thanks to concerns about reliability and maintenance costs that accompany European cars. While there's merit in these concerns, which we will delve into later, the reality is that the VW Touareg is an outstanding car that boasts of top safety ratings, excellent build quality, off-road capability and sports-like performance. It competes with the BMW X5, Mercedes M-Class, Porsche Cayenne, Audi Q7, Range Rover Sport and Volvo XC90.
The VW Golf has a long history in Kenya that stretches back to the 70s and initially it was regarded as a reliable car before it took a hit with the arrival of the often misunderstood DSG gearbox. The problem itself is not with the gearbox but rather a user issue that starts from ignorant owners who don't bother to read the Owner's Manual to unqualified road-side mechanics who don't have the right skills to service the car. In summary, the VW Golf is a reliable car and with proper maintenance, it can run for many years without a problem. It competes with the Audi A3, BMW 1 Series, Mercedes A-Class, Mazda Axela, Subaru Impreza, Toyota Auris and the Mitsubishi Galant Fortis Sportback
The VW Touran is a European built family car that has largely been overlooked by Kenyans who troop en masse for Japanese options perceived to be affordable and cheaper to maintain. This perception is somewhat true but does not factor things such as safety, comfort, frequency of repair and overall build quality which are important for long-term ownership. In the grand scheme of things, the VW Touran is cheaper to run given that it requires less repairs and is much more durable than its Japanese rivals. Of course, it has its share of problems with the DSG gearbox which mainly stem from improper maintenance. It competes with the Honda Freed, Toyota Wish, Mazda Premacy and Subaru Exiga.
Multi Purpose Vehicles(MPVs) have been steadily gaining popularity in the Kenyan market thanks to the improvement in road conditions and the ever rising cost of SUVs. The VW Sharan provides an alternative to the expensive SUVs particularly for people with large families who are looking for comfort, safety and economy. It competes with the Mazda Premacy, Toyota Wish, Nissan Lafesta, Subaru Exiga and Mitsubishi Delica D:5