In the wake of the still-lingering Dieselgate scandal, which has cost Volkswagen billions of dollars and left a smog-colored stain on its reputation, the carmarker is hoping to turn schadenfreude into fahrvergnügen* by having a warranty on many of its new vehicles that lasts twice as long as the standard warranty you’d find on most cars in the U.S.
VW had previously announced that the upcoming 2018 Atlas and Tiquan vehicles would get the 6-year/72,000-mile bumper-to-bumper warranty, but today the company said that several additional 2018 VW models will also come with this extended coverage.
According to the company, the following will now all be covered by the longer warranty: Beetle, Beetle Convertible, Golf, Golf Alltrack, Golf GTI, Golf R, Golf SportWagen, Jetta, and Passat.
Because not everyone owns a car for six years before reselling it, Volkswagen is making this warranty transferrable. So if you sell your 2018 Beetle in 2022, the new owner still has about two years (or whatever remains of the 72,000 mile cap) of warranty coverage left.
The apparent hope behind the 6-year warranty is that the additional years and miles of coverage will give car-buyers the sense that VW is willing to stand behind the quality of its vehicles. That’s a turnaround in image the company needs following the Dieselgate scandal, in which the car company was alleged to have deliberately modified its “clean diesel” line of vehicles so that they would pass emissions tests in a garage but emit potentially dangerous levels of toxins while driving on the road.
But even before Dieselgate, VW’s U.S. business was on a downward trend. In 2016, VW sales were down nearly 8% from the year before, and down more than 25% from their all-time high in 2014. The company’s U.S. marketshare has also dropped to three-quarters of what it once was. Things have turned around more recently, with the latest year-to-date U.S. sales up about 6% over where they were a year ago.
Given Volkswagen’s rather small marketshare in the U.S., many Americans may not realize that VW is the second-largest (or largest; it depends on how one counts these things) car company in the world, moving more than 10 million vehicles in 2016.
VW has previously expressed its aim of chiseling away at the U.S. market, where it not only lags behind fellow mega-manufacturers like General Motors, Ford, and Toyota, but also has less of a presence stateside than smaller competitors like Subaru, Kia, and Hyundai.
Speaking of Hyundai, it has long touting itself as having the best standard warranty in the U.S. at 5 years or 60,000 miles, which looks like it will soon be surpassed by the VW warranty. However, Hyundai has scheduled a press event for Oct. 10, where some expect that the carmaker will announce improvements to make its warranty more attractive to American customers.
*(Yes, we know that doesn’t really make sense, but it sounds like it should.)