Any old spark plug?

I’m going change the spark plugs on my low-mileage 1999 VW Lupo. My mechanic recommends NGK. Question is, is there any functional difference between the NGK spark plugs and the generic plugs I can buy at Sears or Pep Boys?

For petes sake. why worry over a few dollars. Just get what your manual says to use.

Buy precisely the make and model that came on the car. If they were NGK, buy them. If not, buy what came stock.

I second the above recommendations. The day is long gone when one type of spark plug fit almost everything. When I was growing up, the Champion J-8 plug was cross-referenced for our 1954 Buick, 1952 Dodge, LawnBoy 2 stroke mower, and a RotoHoe tiller with a Lauson engine.
Now, follow the recommendations of the manufacturer whether it is a Rolls Royce or a cheap lawn mower. I put a “universal” spark plug in my lawn mower and it was hard to start when the engine was hot. When I put in the correct CJ-8 plug, the problem disappeared.
Use the correct make and type of spark plug specified for your engine.

I just reread the original post. Does anyone still shop at Sears? Sorry, I just feel a little snarky today. I am going to take my medicine and nap for a while.

When you type in your car’s year, make and model ( I don’t see Lupo listed on the US sites ) on a site like Auto Zone you get a list of different manufacturers of plugs…ALL of which will fit that application.
Take your pick.

( btw, I use Sears’ appliance parts web site. Very good diagrams and parts lists. )

A VW undoubtedly came from the factory with Bosch spark plugs. Sure, you could get a set of NGK’s that would work fine too but I would stick with the OEM plugs…

Go with Bosch plugs. German plugs in a German car. I have Bosch plugs in mu Honda and they work great but the car keeps trying to spit them out. I torque to spec but the plugs loosen when I run the car hard.

“Does anyone still shop at Sears?”

I do

Some of the tools in my garage are Craftsman.

Over the years, I’ve bought appliances, tools, various kitchen utensils, and even a mattress at Sears

But when I go there, I already know exactly what I’m buying. Because I don’t expect any good advice from the salesmen

Go with the OEM plugs. Different manufacturers can make a plug that fits, but your car was designed and tuned to the OEM plugs. With the high efficiency of modern engines and plugs that last for 75, 000 to 100, 000 miles, it’s really not worth the risk of finding a less efficient plug.

@Mustangman, this TSB on Honda S2000 plugs loosening may interest you:

Hey @insightful, Thanks a lot!