If you recently purchased a new General Motors vehicle, were you lured in by their five year, 100,000 mile powertrain warranty? If the answer is "Not really," you aren't alone. GM switched to that warranty plan in 2007, but it's being downgraded because it apparently wasn't helping to move cars.
Automotive News reports the General is moving instead to a five year, 60,000 mile powertrain warranty coverage plan for all 2016 model year cars. They're also scaling back their offer of two years of free maintenance such as oil changes and tire rotations.
AN reports that many customers didn't even take advantage of that maintenance plan anyway, which really inspires confidence in how safe other cars are out on the road.
The 100,000 mile powertrain warranty plan was implemented in the last decade to show how the quality of GM's cars had improved. But apparently it wasn't a big selling point, AN reports:
"Through research, we have determined that when purchasing a new vehicle, included maintenance and warranty rank low on the list of reasons why consumers consider a particular brand over another," reads the dealer memo, sent by Chevrolet vice president Brian Sweeney and GMC vice president Duncan Aldred.
"As a result, we have benchmarked our competitors, reviewed our current offerings and have concluded the following modifications to align closely with our customers' needs and expectations," it said.
GM's major competitors like Ford, Honda and Toyota also offer a five year, 60,000 mile plan, so this is more in line with what everybody else is doing.
At the same time, GM's small and midsize car sales can't touch those of Japanese competitors, especially if you remove fleet sales, so if it wasn't helping sell cars why keep it? (Also keep in mind that this is the powertrain warranty, and ideally none of that should break in five years anyway.)
Hyundai, Kia and Mitsubishi still lead the industry with a 10 year, 100,000 mile powertrain warranty. But in the case of the Koreans, that was done in the late 1990s to assuage potential customers who were turned off by their once-abysmal quality. That isn't the case anymore at all with those companies, and now that they can stand on their own, I wonder how much of that warranty is a deciding factor in a Hyundai purchase.
Besides, I think a lot of customers rank reliability higher than warranty coverage when they're shopping for a car. No one wants a new car that's in the shop all the time, even if they aren't footing the bill for the repairs.
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