You might already suspect that the kind of people who buy expensive German cars are different from the rest of us, but you’d still be surprised to hear that, according to BMW at least, one of the things they’re not interested in is a good, long warranty when they buy a new car.
According to Vikram Pawah, the CEO of BMW Group Australia, his buyers are quite happy with only getting a three-year warranty (with unlimited kilometres) on his new vehicles, despite the fact that almost every brand in the country’s top-sellers offers a better deal than that. And some companies are now offering warranties more than double the German’s offering.
“It’s just not an issue for us, or for our customers,” Pawah claims.
The decision by Volkswagen and Toyota, two of the world’s largest car brands, in January this year to extend their three-year-warranty offerings to five years has left the premium brands - BMW, Audi and Mercedes-Benz, as the outliers in the industry.
Which led us to ask the obvious question - when will BMW match that five-year offer?
“When my customer starts telling me they’re not happy with the durability of my product,” Pawah says.
“If it’s three years or five years it doesn’t matter, if the product is durable and people trust in that durability.”
Pawah repeats this claim ad nauseam, that customers are so trusting in BMW reliability that they simply don’t bring up the warranty issue with dealers during negotiations.
It may not be a coincidence, however, that BMW Australia says the average turnover time for its customers - how often they buy a new car is… three years.
But doesn’t it make BMW look bad when its competitors, car companies that are notionally less reliable, and certainly cheaper, are offering five-year warranties?
“I can’t comment on what our competitors are doing,” comes his answer. Over and over again.
So far, at least, all of the premium Germans are holding the three-year line, but the pressure is perhaps most intense on Audi, which shares many of engines and systems with VW, to be the first to break out with a five-year offering.
“We don’t have plans to change our current offering of three years/unlimited kilometres. However, we are constantly monitoring the market and assessing the needs and priorities of our customers,” was Audi’s most recent comment on the issue.
Would the short warranty put you off buying a new BMW? Tell us in the comments section below.