Volvo is counting on owners of its cars not to be versions of Irv Gordon, the guy from East Patchogue, N.Y., who has driven his 1966 Volvo P1800 over 3 million miles. The Rockleigh, N.J.-based U.S. arm of Volvo Group is launching a new warranty program that, on the surface, beats anything out there: lifetime parts and labor warranty for all Volvo vehicles serviced after the factory warranty at any Volvo retailer.
The company says customers pay once and that’s it. They never pay again for parts and labor, assuming that doesn't mean accessories and wear items. The company is likely counting on minimal product problems during the ownership period. According to an Experian study last fall, the average length of car ownership in the U.S. was about eight years, an increase of a month from the year before.
On a contrarian note, General Motors in March this year said it was cutting back on warranty benefits across its brands because its own research showed that, actually, free maintenance and warranty benefits are not high on the shopping consideration list. But the benefit reduction also puts its warranty more at the range of competitors like Toyota, Honda and Ford, not to mention its own six-year or 70,000-mile deal offered by Buick and Cadillac.
In 2013, back before all of this, and around the time GM started offering free maintenance for GMC and Buick, financial publisher Bankrate said Volvo was one of the seven automakers with the best warranty offer. Not surprisingly, Hyundai and Kia — which rebooted the brands in the late-’90s with industry-best 100,000-miles or 10-year warranty — was also on the list, as were Mitsubishi, Buick, Infiniti, and GMC.
Volvo says its new offer is part of the Volvo Service Advantage program, where all owners get what Volvo calls a “premium service experience” when they go to their local Volvo retailer. Customers get free software updates, complimentary diagnostics, personal service, alternative transportation and a complimentary car wash.
“We look forward to redefining the way manufacturers service and support their vehicles” says Scott Doering, VP of customer service, Volvo Cars of North America, in a statement.