German car maker Volkswagen will join a growing number of brands offering capped-price servicing on its new vehicles in a bid to reverse what the company says is a “perception” that its servicing is expensive.
The move is designed to thwart the growing number of smaller workshops who’ve been embracing customers disgruntled by Volkswagen dealership service costs. They often use the same genuine parts and technical equipment but charge less than half the dealership rate.
Volkswagen introduced fixed price servicing on its budget-priced small car, the Up, last October and plans to offer the same certainty to buyers of all its new cars by the end of this year, possibly starting with the new Golf Mk7 due in April.
The managing director of Volkswagen Australia, Anke Koeckler, told News Limited today: “We are working on it. Somewhere in the first half of this year we are coming back to you and announcing capped price servicing. The feedback so far from dealers and customers [from the VW Up program] has been very positive. I think it would help us also in the perception around the customers.”
Unlike some other capped-price servicing programs which require six-monthly visits, Volkswagen only requires a visit to the dealer every 12 months or 15,000km, and the prices are locked in for six years – twice the period of the warranty. Some other brands don’t even cover the warranty period.
Some fixed-price servicing deals are subsidised by car makers by setting aside part of the purchase price and reimbursing the dealer when the car is presented for service. However, Volkswagen says it does not plan to subsidise its fixed price servicing plan, matching Nissan, Ford and Kia. The downside to this is that the customer ends up paying a little more for each individual service.
But if the Up experiment is a guide, Volkswagen has one of the most competitive non-subsidised service plans in the market, even though the price changes depending on the service. “My preference would be not to subsidise any capped price servicing. It would reflect the honest parts and service costs,” Koeckler said.
Volkswagen Up service costs:
|Interval in km / months||Price inclusive of GST|
|(whichever comes first)|
|15,000 or 12 months||$280.00|
|30,000 or 24 months||$280.00|
|45,000 or 36 months||$332.50|
|60,000 or 48 months||$369.50|
|75,000 or 60 months||$280.00|
|90,000 or 72 months||$332.50|
This reporter is on Twitter: @JoshuaDowling