We are not even considering abandoning our campaign. Like every guarantee offer, ours also has conditions and these conditions are presented very clearly.
Opel’s sales and marketing boss Alain Visser fires back at Germany’s Wettbewerbszentrale (competition authority), which recently accused Opel of misleading consumers with its newly-launched “Lifetime Guaranty.” The Wettbewerbzentrale had argued that Opel’s warranty was “a lie” because, despite having no time limit, it only applies for the first 160,000 kilometers… which by definition is less than a car’s lifetime, right? According to Opel’s Visser [via Automotive News [sub]], that might not be the case.
In defense of Opel’s guaranty, Visser went on the offensive, telling journalists
I challenge you to go out and find me a car with even 100,000 kilometers on the clock. Despite threats and some bad PR we do believe that a lifetime guarantee with no time-limit is the strongest statement we could possibly make — even if it does have some footnotes,
Needless to say, Europeans to tend to keep cars for much less time than American consumers, as European nations tend to require regular emissions and roadworthiness testing. Europeans also tend to put mileage on their vehicles at a much slower rate than Americans, who often drive distances on daily commutes that many Europeans would find hugely excessive. Still, surely Visser isn’t claiming that Opels only have a lifespan of 160k kilometers. Cars with that mileage may be difficult to find in Europe, but that doesn’t mean that the market has determined the definition of the word “lifetime.”
In short, Opel has tried to pull off some of the success that Hyundai enjoyed in the US-market starting when it introduced a 100k mile warranty. Problem is that Hyundai clearly benefited from a low-key approach to its warranty, instead of overselling it as a “lifetime” guaranty. Also, Hyundai had success with that program in the US market, where drivers regularly put over 100k miles on their cars. Besides, even if they had called it a “lifetime guaranty” there’s no Wettbewerbszentrale in the US. Opel’s approach, on the other hand, has been ham-fisted and tone-deaf, echoing General Motors gimmicks past.