The Truth About GM's New Powertrain Warranty

Robert Farago
by Robert Farago

It's clear that GM's new powertrain warranty– 5 years, 100k miles– has set TTAC tongues wagging. To get on top of the story, I phoned Philip Reed, Consumer Advice Editor at Reed has written a book called Strategies for Smart Car Buyers, which covers the entire car buying process: selling, leasing, buying, used cars, certified cars, the whole schmeer. Reed knows what's what when it comes to warranties and, equally important, their value to both customer and manufacturer. According to Reed, GM's announcement could well be a great landing at the wrong airport.

Robert Farago
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  • Darkvette Darkvette on Sep 22, 2006

    Here is part of what I posted on another review here at TTAC. "Anyone who is biased against American-made cars is going to continually trash and degrade them no matter what anyone says or does. They will stick with their foreign cars to the death. They are called die-hards. Then you have people who are on the opposite end of the spectrum, those that will only buy American-made cars and would never in a thousand years touch a foreign made car. They are also called die-hards. Then you have yet another class, those that teeter in the middle, not on one end or the other, those people that will buy a car because of either it’s price, a good smooth ride, or because they need something to drive." From what I'm reading here as well, this part of my statement applies here too. I am one of those people in the middle who doesn't care about what he drives, as long as it's a car. What I can tell you is this, GM did this 5/100 warranty because for the first time in a long time, they are willing and able to stand behind the cars they make. They know that they are making better cars and have adjusted themselves accordingly. It seems people have lost faith in GM, and I can't say I blame them. I grew up with my dad owning Fords and Dodges, while all my mom drove was GMs. Now, my mom drives a Kia, what does that tell you? She lost faith in GM a long time ago, after driving a 88 Pontiac Sunbird, a 91 Chevy Lumina Eurosport, and a 97 Geo Prism, all of which had major problems around 75k and didn't last till 100k. My first car was a 97 Saturn SL2 and had 98k when the engine blew. So, I know full well why people have lost trust in GM, but if anyone has the capacity to turn themselves around, it's GM. They have made a lot of progress, but still have a long way to go. Toyota is a worldwide company, based out of Japan that makes one set of cars for every market they sell in. Honda is the same. GM, however, while being a worldwide company, they have different products for every market they sell in. It was a wise idea on their part, for this exact reason. Now they are pulling from their other divisions and markets to improve this one. Have faith, if anyone can come through, it's GM.

  • Finger Finger on Dec 19, 2006

    "We are now a Ford-Free-Family and now drive BMW and Lexus and are not looking at “Detroit Drivetrains” in the forseeable " I had a 2005 5 series sedan that power window went bad at 88,000. I traded it and we are now a BMW free family with 2 Chevy's in the driveway. I wiull not buy an Audi, BMW, Porsche or Bentley as I feel the "European Electronics" is shared by the entire continent.

  • Anonymous Anonymous on Feb 28, 2007

    I stumbled across this thread for information on the GM Certified used car 100k mile powertrain warranty. I find it amusing so many choose to say the new longer warranty is meaningless.

    I also like how people say, if you don’t drive 20k miles a year it’s a negative even though it’s still five years. It looks like the average miles driven per year for a car 5 years old or newer is 15k miles. A large % of people do drive 20k miles a year. And those that don’t still have the 5 years.

    How about the person that only drives 10k miles a year, are they getting a benefit? Certainly, the car is covered for 5 years and if they sell it in 3 years the next person automatically gets the remaining 2 years and 70k miles. Is that an attractive incentive to a buyer that drives 30k miles a year, you bet.

    Others say it’s a negative because the power train doesn’t break. Is that a backhanded compliment? Others talk about how it’s a band aid for the weak. Let’s look at some recent data. In 2007 Toyota has already had to recall 533,417 vehicles compared to Ford’s 128,163 and Chevrolet’s 4,829. In 2005 Toyota had to recall more vehicles than it built (2.2 million). They recalled 1.76 million in 2006.

    The benchmark Camry hasn’t been awarded best in class since 2000. Even back in 2004 the Wall street Journal as well as others reported things such as “Reliability has narrowed in some segments and disappeared while quality problems were mushrooming.

    In 2005 when I was researching a new vehicle for my parents I was shocked to see the Malibu rated ahead or equal to Camry in every area and rated better overall. (JD Powers) Even Consumer Reports rated Regal ahead of the Camry, Accord and Maxima for reliability in 2004.

    We all have preferences and come to the table with a pre-determined mindset. Why not just try having an honest discussion of the strengths and weaknesses of ALL vehicles. Make no mistake, there is no vehicle or manufacture that is perfect.

  • Powertrain-warranty Powertrain-warranty on Dec 24, 2007

    I am interested in seeing the longer term impact this will have on the aftermarket industry....