Saturday

GM Warranties Get Longer

It's about time.

Warranties are about confidence. They are the manufacturer's way of proving to the customer that they built it right and they'll stand behind it if something goes wrong. When you think about the price of a new car or truck nowadays, that's only fair.

In the 1980's Hyundai was the laugh of the auto industry with cheap cars and lousy quality. It was so bad they almost pulled out of the US market. Then they upped the quality but Hyundai also realized that quality alone wouldn't get them invited into the American buyer's garage, so they backed their vehicles up with a 10 year - 100,000 mile powertrain warranty. The result? It took a little time, but buyer's bought and other manufacturer's took notice as their market share started to erode.

Now GM has joined the warranty stretch game. In July Ford increased its powertrain warranty to 5 years - 60,000 miles, in an effort to boost consumer confidence and take market share. It was only a matter of time before GM had to go them one better.

On Sept 7 GM announced that all new 2007 model year vehicles future sales (in all 8 GM lines) would come with a 5 year - 1000,000 mile power train warranty. That's a logical step if GM wants to boost confidence in their product lines again. Just matching Ford would only make GM look like "Johnny come lately" to the warranty party. They had to go one better.

What is curious in all this is DaimlerChrysler. Where are they?

Years ago they were the first Big 3 company to give a longer powertrain warranty, 7 years - 100,000 miles. In their zeal to cut costs everywhere they could, no doubt, they cut the warranty too, eventually all the way back to 3 years - 36,000 miles. Now it's time for them to play catch up, and they probably will.

So if you are bound and determined to buy a new Chrysler, we suggest you wait it out. Sooner or later Chrysler will have to match (or beat) the longer warranty coverage everybody else seems to be offering. Why? Because they know that smart buyers always take reliability over style and a longer warranty promises better reliability.

After all, nobody wants a great looking car that is just another lemon. To find out more about the Lemon Law in your state, click here.