All About the Volkswagen First-Time Buyer Program

Volkswagen’s first-time buyer program, available at some dealerships, rewards recent college graduates with a small discount regardless of credit history.
Written by Pat Roache
Reviewed by Amy Bobinger
background
Volkswagen’s First-time Buyer program allows drivers who are
buying their first car
to provide proof of income instead of automotive credit history when applying for their lease or
car loan
. This program is designed to make it easier to qualify for financing from Volkswagen, but it does not offer any rebates or incentives.
  • Volkswagen’s First-time Buyer program is available to U.S. citizens and documented residents (restrictions apply) who have not established any automotive credit.
  • New, pre-owned, and certified pre-owned Volkswagen vehicles are eligible for the program.
  • First-time buyers must be able to provide proof of income with a minimum of one year working for their current employer to qualify.

What does the Volkswagen First Time Buyer program offer?

The Volkswagen First-time Buyer program is aimed to help
first-time buyers get a car loan
or lease without any established automotive credit.
The program is fairly simple and available for U.S. citizens and documented residents (in every state except
Washington
) who are working with Volkswagen Credit to buy a new, pre-owned, or certified pre-owned Volkswagen.
Buyers must be able to prove they have enough income to cover the financial obligations of their financing terms, and they must have at least one year of full-time employment with their current employer. To qualify, you must provide the following:
  • Proof of income (like a paystub)
  • Proof of address and phone number (like a cell phone or utilities bill)
  • A copy of your U.S. Social Security Card (not required in Washington State)
  • Two letters of personal reference complete with addresses and phone numbers (both must reside in the U.S. and be willing to receive communications from Volkswagen Credit; one must be from a relative)
  • Contact name and number for your employer’s Payroll or Human Resources Department
Volkswagen Credit will use these credentials to determine whether or not you should be approved for financing without any previous automotive credit. The program also provides resources to help you decide whether you should finance or lease a car.
While you won’t receive any rebates or incentives through Volkswagen’s First-time Buyer program, you may qualify for reduced
car insurance
. First-time Volkswagen buyers may be offered car insurance discounts for MyVWInsurance, powered by
Liberty Mutual
. However, you should compare quotes from three to five providers before committing to this plan.
MORE: What’s the difference between leasing and financing a car?

Tips for low-credit Volkswagen financing if you don’t qualify for the First Time Buyer program

First-time buyers will only be approved for Volkswagen’s First-time Buyer Program if the monthly payment of their desired car does not exceed 18% of their monthly gross income.
Volkswagen Credit requires first-time buyers to meet strict financial requirements in lieu of automotive credit—and, unfortunately, not everyone will qualify. Even if you meet the one-year requirement for full-time employment, VW Credit won’t approve you if you’re deemed to have a
low income
that doesn’t meet their monthly payment requirements.
Don’t sweat it if you don’t qualify for Volkswagen’s First-time Buyer Program right away. Here are a few other options to consider in the meantime.
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Pick a vehicle you can afford

Make sure the Volkswagen model you’re interested in is one that you can actually afford by using an online tool to calculate the car payment. This is an especially good step if your monthly income is the only thing keeping you from qualifying for the VW First-time Buyer Program.
Let’s say you’re a first-time buyer working full-time at the same job for over a year with a wage of $17/hr. That’s a monthly gross income of $2,720—18% of which is $489.60. You want to finance a 2023
Volkswagen Golf GTI
(MSRP $30,530) with a 60-month loan term and a 10% downpayment. Can you do it? Unfortunately, no.
The average monthly payment for a new Golf GTI under these circumstances is $720, which is way more than 28% of your gross monthly income. But what if you set your sights on a 2023
Volkswagen Jetta S
(MSRP $20,665)? Under the same circumstances, this model has an average monthly payment of $487, which just barely qualifies you for first-time financing through VW!
If you’re still having trouble meeting the monthly income requirements, consider your local Volkswagen’s used vehicle inventory. Pre-owned vehicles come with lower price tags that make it easier to
reduce your car loan payment
and qualify for first-time financing.

Compare loan offers from multiple lenders

In-house financing
is a convenient way to get a loan for your Volkswagen without ever having to leave the dealership, but you may find cheaper loan terms somewhere else. Banks and local credit unions are more likely to offer competitive interest rates than your local car dealer, and you can easily compare offers by applying for pre-approval.

Get an assist from a co-signer

You may be able to get around Volkswagen’s First-time Buyer Program if you can get someone with established automotive credit to apply with you as a co-signer. Once you’ve established your own credit, you can see about
removing the co-signer from your loan
and maybe even
refinancing your car loan
for a better rate.
MORE: How to get a cosigner for a bad credit car loan

Wait a bit

It’s not always the most convenient option, but it might be worth waiting on your new car purchase if you don’t qualify for the first-time financing you want from VW. This gives you time to build up your employment history, work towards a raise, or save up a
good down payment
that would reduce your monthly costs of financing.
MORE: Car loans for people with no credit history

The best Volkswagen models for first-time car buyers

Volkswagen offers a nice variety of models and powertrains, but some are more suited for first-time drivers than others—especially when it comes to first-time financing! Consider the following models from the german automaker for your first ride:
  • Volkswagen Jetta: The Jetta’s affordability goes beyond its starting price tag of $20,665—just look at it’s EPA-rated fuel economy of up to 29 MPG in the city and 42 MPG on the highway! This award-winning sedan is an easily customizable easy driver for all budgets.
  • Volkswagen Tiguan
    : Need some extra space for cargo or passenger comfort? This compact crossover SUV starts at $26,950 and offers up to 73.4 cubic feet of cargo space for your utility needs.
  • Volkswagen Passat
    : Although it was discontinued in 2022, this midsize sedan makes a great
    used car for first-time drivers
    !
  • Volkswagen Golf: This hatchback is a great option to buy new or used if you don’t want an SUV like the Tiguan but want a bit more utility than the Jetta can offer or Passat can offer.
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