Long the laggard in the booming SUV market, Volkswagen is playing an aggressive game of catch-up, launching several new models and now, just in time for the annual New York International Auto Show, announcing what it is billing as the “best SUV bumper-to-bumper warranty” in the American market.
Of course, it always pays to read the fine print, and what’s significant about the new VW warranty is that it is transferable when the vehicle is sold. That’s not insignificant, as some programs, such as the 10-year coverage from Hyundai, applies only to the initial owner.
The new 72-month/72,000 mile program applies to both the new version of the Volkswagen Tiguan, as well as the larger, all-new VW Atlas, both 2018 models. Those models are critical additions to the German maker’s line-up considering utility vehicles now account for about 40% of total U.S. new vehicle sales.
“We’re confident in the reliability and workmanship of these SUVs, and we want our customers to be confident in their purchase,” said Hinrich Woebcken, the CEO of Volkswagen Group of America. “We believe this warranty will lead to reduced cost of ownership for Volkswagen owners.”
(VW reveals updated Golf family in time for NY Auto Show. Click Here to check it out.)
That could help VW deal with a long-nagging problem, the brand’s reputation for quality and reliability issues, especially as its products age.
The timing of the warranty also comes as the carmaker is struggling to rebuild its reputation in the wake of its diesel emissions scandal. It has acknowledged rigging more than 500,000 vehicles sold in the U.S. – and over 11 million worldwide – to illegally pass pollution tests. All told, Volkswagen has now spent about $30 billion in fines, settlements and vehicle buyback programs covering most of its 2.0-liter diesels and some 3.0-liter models. A number of VW employees face criminal charges in the U.S., with German prosecutors looking additional indictments.
The carmaker suffered a sharp decline in demand following the revelation of the scam in September 2015. But its sales have begun to rebound in recent months and VW is hoping that it can keep that momentum going.
(VW gets EPA approval to sell off left-over 2015 diesels. Click Here for the story.)
The Atlas is expected to be one of the most critical components, targeting a major gap in the automaker’s line-up. The new, three-row SUV was specifically designed for the American market and will be produced at the company’s assembly plant in Chattanooga, Tennesse.
The Tiguan is one of two previous SUV models – the third being the full-size Touareg. But the U.S. is getting an all-new, larger version of the Tiguan for 2018 that will be covered by the new warranty.
For at least a year or two, VW officials recently announced, they will continue selling the older, smaller Tiguan in the States. They have not announced what name it will use, such as Tiguan Classic. A VW representative tells TheDetroitBureau.com the extended warranty will not cover the old Tiguan.
(Click Here to see how the diesel scandal has impacted VW profits.)