As Volkswagen introduces its large Atlas and redesigned Tiguan crossovers to the U.S. market, the German automaker is doubling the length of the warranties on its SUVs.
The move is designed to build catch the wave of consumer preference for SUVs and crossovers, a segment where VW has struggled.
The warranty plan, announced Tuesday at the New York International Auto Show, offers twice the coverage of many of its competitors. It features six-year/72,000-mile bumper-to-bumper coverage transferable to subsequent owners.
Competitive vehicles like the Toyota Highlander and Ford Escape come with only a three-year/36,000-mile basic warranty and a five-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty.
The news comes as Volkswagen expands its SUV lineup with the all-new Atlas – the brand’s first three-row crossover in the U.S. market. It has a starting price of $31,425 for the base model with a four-cylinder turbocharged 2.0-liter engine. Pricing tops out at $49,415 for the SEL Platinum AWD with a 3.6-liter V-6 engine. A redesigned Tiguan is due later this year.
“Volkswagen is looking to get on consumer’s radar and consideration list with Tiguan and Atlas,” said Stephanie Brinley, analyst for research firm IHS Markit. “The launch of these products is critical for VW in the U.S., as it is another attempt to connect the VW brand with a broader audience.”
The company is having trouble matching up against entrenched competitors, Brinley said. VW has sold only 11,000 SUVs and crossovers during the first quarter of this year. During the same period, Nissan has sold more than 100,000 of just its compact crossover, the Rogue.
“A longer warranty can be an attention-getting differentiator during this launch phase, and provide consumers another reason to give the VW a chance over the more familiar Ford Explorer, Chevrolet Traverse, or Honda Pilot,” Brinley said.
Volkswagen sees the longer warranty as a way to offer a better value for its customers.
“We’re confident in the reliability and workmanship of these SUVs, and we want our customers to be confident in their purchase,” Hinrich J. Woebcken, chief executive of Volkswagen Group of America said. “We believe this warranty will lead to reduced cost of ownership for Volkswagen owners.”
While SUVs get an enhanced warranty, the rest of Volkswagen’s offerings will continue to feature a three-year/36,000-mile bumper-to-bumper warranty. The new SUV warranty will be available to U.S. customers only on all 2018 Atlas and Tiguan models when they arrive later this year.