I am just about to purchase by private deal a 2008 top of the range 3.2-litre 40,000km on clock pristine condition Volkswagen Passat Highline.
After reading reports on the recent recall business and lack of response from VW dealers
I am concerned whether I should go ahead with this.
For up-to-date information on recalls, visit www.recalls.gov.au. It's also a great idea to let the manufacturer know you own the car - call their customer care team and advise them the rego number and VIN - it's on the rego papers. You should also enquire whether there are any service campaigns on the vehicle (you can ring any dealer and quote the VIN for that information). Service campaigns are like recalls, but handled internally. Theses repairs are free, regardless of warranty situation (in or out of warranty).
In relation to Volkswagen, there's not just one recall. Volkswagen has deep-rooted quality problems across the range of vehicles and across the company, which would make me think twice about owning one. Also, at least in Australia, their dealership network has an appalling record of customer 'care'. The company itself is also a basket case in terms of dealing with customers and resolving problematic issues.
Of course, not all Volkswagens are problematic. People tend to be very happy with the fault-free ones. However, the risk of having a problem, and then having them treat you like dirt, is significant. This is something you need to weigh up for yourself.
If it were me I would buy a fully loaded used Mazda6.
Some useful resources for you.
Hope this helps.