VW doubles basic warranty

After lagging behind the industry standard, Volkswagen of America Inc. has doubled VW’s bumper-to-bumper warranty, giving it coverage comparable to a high-line vehicle.

The VW 2002 bumper-to-bumper warranty is four years or 50,000 miles — the same as the Audi line. It had been two years or 24,000 miles, below the longtime industry standard of three years or 36,000 miles.

“We want to be responsive to our customers,” said Frank Maguire, vice president in charge of sales and marketing.

While lengthening its basic warranty, VW reduced its powertrain warranty to five years or 60,000 miles. It had been 10 years or 100,000 miles. The 2002 powertrain warranty, though, is fully transferable. Previously, powertrain coverage could pass only from the original retail owner to a family member.

VW’s bumper-to-bumper coverage represents the most significant change in factory warranties for the 2002 model year. Two other automakers tweaked their warranty coverage:

  • American Suzuki Motor Corp. has introduced roadside assistance in its three-year/36,000-mile bumper-to-bumper warranty. Mike Kock, Suzuki’s warranty manager, said Suzuki made the change because consumers expect roadside assistance to be part of a new-vehicle warranty. Honda, Nissan and Toyota are the only mainstream makes without roadside assistance. Kock estimates that adding roadside assistance to its warranty will cost Suzuki about $350,000 a year.

  • Ford Motor Co. introduced a free, extended-service plan on the 2002 Focus for five years or 100,000 miles in response to Korean competition. Ford’s regular powertrain warranty is for three years or 36,000 miles.

    “We want to keep the line competitive,” said Ford spokesman John Jelinek. “Some of the competition out there has standard service plans beyond the three-year/36,000-mile warranty in that class of car.”

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