By on June 2, 2010

Many people (especially on this site) worry that Toyota might become the new old GM. I beg to differ. Toyota is a well run company, it turns a profit and builds good cars (not great, but good ones). When GM was swirling around the porcelain throne, people were desperately seeking ideas to recall lost customers back to GM. One thought was the “5 year, bumper-to-bumper warranty.”

The logic was watertight. Stop saying that your cars are as good as the competition (I’m looking at you, Mr Lutz) and put your money where your mouth is. Why should a customer commit tens of thousands to a car, if you can’t commit to a measly 5 years? But GM never did it. We had a powertrain warranty, but not a bumper-to-bumper one. Now compare this to Hyundai, who where, and let’s not mince words here, a joke in the car world. A commitment to quality and a 5 year bumper-to-bumper warranty (in the UK) later and Hyundai is up there with the best of them. So, if it’s good enough for Hyundai….

…it’s good enough for Toyota. The witch hunt sudden unintended acceleration issue has caused a big dent in Toyota’s reputation. Toyota needs to restore one of the key reasons to buy a Toyota. Reliability. Autocar reports that Toyota is to roll out a 5 year warranty as standard, on all of its vehicles, from June the 1st. In the UK.

Miguel Fonseca, Toyota UK’s managing director gushed that “Our new five-year warranty is tangible evidence of our commitment to quality and to our customers – both those who are loyal to the brand and those who are considering switching to Toyota for their next car,”. Well done, Toyota! Great idea, just badly executed. You see, there’s two problems with Toyota’s new warranty. The first problem is that Toyota’s warranty comes with a 100,000 miles limit. Hyundai and Kia don’t state a mileage limit. Problem number two, Kia’s warranty is seven years, not five. Nice try, Toyota, but Hyundai and Kia still have the edge over you. Double or quits?

N.B: If you’re interested, Kia has provided a nice little table which shows all the competition’s warranties here.

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23 Comments on “Toyota UK’s Warranty Accelerates Past (Most) Of The Competition...”

  • avatar

    Back when Chrysler first offered the 7/70 warranty, they lost their shirt due to quality issues. But I don’t think that’s the case with Hyundai/Kia.

    So Toyota’s quality is either a myth, or they have good reason not to offer a matching deal.

  • avatar

    People may doubt what you say, but they will always believe what you do.

    If as many commentators and contributors to this site have said, “Almost any car will last 250,000 miles now-a-days.” Then automakers need to put up or shut up. 10years/100,000 miles on power train (especially if you now expect transmission fluid to be “lifetime”) and 5 years 50,000 miles bumper to bumper. If you start loosing your shirt on warranty costs then pull your head out of your butt and figure out where your quality problems are.

  • avatar

    If GM makes (or will make) what they claim as ‘the best cars and trucks in the world’ (paraphrasing), they need to back it up with a warranty as good or better than the Koreans. 5 years just isn’t as good as 10. If the quality of GM’s products have improved as much as they claim, why are they so reticent to match their competitors, who were, as you stated once dismissed as a joke? Better quality = fewer problems + less expensive warranty claims…right?

    • 0 avatar

      Based on my past three experiences with Government motors products, the quality isn’t any different than what people complained about in the 90’s. I was a diehard GM buyer for years and I will never buy another. GM lost me for good.

      Biside the point. The difference now is online media is way more prevailent and can be found in almost every household (in North America at least). This unfortunately is a double edged sword.

      On one side, quality issues such as recalls, TSB’s and general public complaints can be seen by anyone with an internet connection. As are dealer complaints, incentive wars, chatrooms and manufacturers forums which can provide a ton of insight and knowledge to prospective buyers.

      Take Toyota for instance, they have had a positive reputation for top quality, well built, and very dependable products for the past 40 years. The Big 3 have been living under a black cloud of producing junk for the same amopunt of time ( or longer according to many people who got burned long before the import invasion).

      With the internet, Toyotas reputation came under a huge amount of scrutiny this year and it is showing in the sales numbers. Now they are faced with a “put up or shut up” challenge that Hyundai was faced with 20 years ago (and is succeeding).

      GM also came under scrutiny for false claims of “paying back its loans in full” when in reality they only paid back a small portion while glossing over the facts that 61% of the company is owned by the US and Canadian governments while another 20% are owned by the UAW.

      Also, look at Ford. They are getting positive reviews all over the internet, something that would have been very difficult to do without since many people who were burned by GM for 40 years, were also burned by Ford products (and Chryslers). I’d say that online media is really helping their revival.

      On the the other side of the sword though, the internet can also be very harmful to automakers. Every Joe Shmo with a keyboard can get on any website and completely fabricate any damming story they want to, they can completely exaggerate and falsify information just to satisfy their own agendas and biases.

      Trust me, I was one of them. I was a GM diehard for years and I’m not afraid to admit that I was part of the forum blitz back in 2009 to help get GM back on its feet. I could rampage though any forum and chatroom and make up any story I wanted about any nameplate I hated at the time. Spent a lot of time in ToyotaNation, TemplesofVtec, Infiniti, BMW, Nissan and Hyundai forums.

      And people believed me.

      Now that I no longer support GM and I have a couple of more years to mature, I no longer need to bash other makes to make my own favorites look good. I know what’s good and what’s bad. And in my eyes, a sweetened warranty to help bring back customers to Toyota (the ones that actually fell for the hype and paranioa) is a good move.

  • avatar

    I’m sure Hyundai/Kia pay plenty on warranty costs. Same citation as above.

    Unlike the warranties from other manufacturers, the Korean warranties are not transferrable when the car is resold. In the US, Hyundais warranty is 5/60000. The 10/100000 is powertrain only and disappears if you sell the car.

    The 5 year Hyundai warranty in the UK is unlimited miles and transferrable.

  • avatar

    My rule of thumb is; don’t buy a vehicle if the warranty is shorter than the length of the loan repayment. The thought of paying to fix a car while still paying to buy the same car out of the same measly monthly pay check would give me sleepless nights.

  • avatar
    Dr Strangelove

    5 years and 100,000 miles should cover most new car buyers. Extending a transferable warranty past that point may help resale values a bit, but on balance is probably not worth it to the manufacturer – too many cars will develop issues related to poor maintenance. Paying up for those claims sucks, and fighting them gives bad press. I’d say the limits are well considered.

    • 0 avatar

      too many cars will develop issues related to poor maintenance.

      Then you don’t pay if customers don’t follow the maintenance requirements. I lost a timing belt on my 98′
      Passat at 72k (IIRC it was to be replaced at 90k). They asked if I had the 60k timing belt inspection done. I had. They paid for my new engine as part of my 10/100,000 powertrain warranty.

    • 0 avatar

      Right. Warranties like that always have preventative maintenance clauses. And if it means the difference between being accepted or denied I’ll pay for dealer maintenance and keep the records. If I was to buy a Hyundai I’d have all my work done at the dealer just so I could take advantage of the coverage if anything happened. Soon as the warranty is up, I head to my independent reliable mechanic.

    • 0 avatar


      Soon as the warranty is up, I head to my independent reliable mechanic.

      The only caveat I’d add is that I brought that same Passat to the dealer, when it needed new a-arms at 120k, and they got VW to pay for all the parts. At least in my case, I’ve saved many thousands more by going to the dealer vs. an independant. YMMV

    • 0 avatar

      OK, valid point. But I think our OVERALL point here is that if companies offered better warranties, they’d get consideration of our business. As long as they actually honored them that is! Glad to here VW went above and beyond for you.

    • 0 avatar
      Dr Strangelove

      “too many cars will develop issues related to poor maintenance.

      Then you don’t pay if customers don’t follow the maintenance requirements.”

      That goes without saying. However, there will be cars with ostensibly perfect paper trail that still are poorly maintained: Salt-encrusted and never cleaned, crappy oil, driven only short distances with engine never heating up, shoddy shop work and so on.

  • avatar
    Gardiner Westbound

    Asian manufacturers dominate Consumer Reports’ 2010 reliability ratings. Honda, Toyota, Mitsubishi, Hyundai and Porsche are the top five in that order. Ford is middle ranked followed by most European automakers. GM is second from last and Chrysler is dead last.

    An honest, broad 10-year warranty would improve purchaser comfort and sales, but the Detroit Three lack sufficient confidence in their products to provide one.

    • 0 avatar

      + 1

      I’ve been saying this for some time. GM more than the other 2 blab about how they’ve improved or that they’re the best. Bull.

      Data disproves this as does customer perception.

      I like Ford, but when their marketing team started in on how they’re more dependable than Asian makes, they lost points. Reality is, they are not as dependable (aka trouble-free) as the others. Not yet at least.

      GM’s had a habit of lying in advertising for some time. “We build the best” “We paid back our loan. In full. With interest. 3 years early.” kind of stuff.

  • avatar

    On the other hand, Mitsubishi offered 10 years warranty, and as far as I know it wasn’t a commercial success.

  • avatar

    Why does the UK get better cars and better warranties?! Is this because cars (and gas) are costlier there, or is it just another case of stupid US consumers not knowing better.

  • avatar

    My CPO’d 2005 Saab 9-5, which I bought for $9k, is bumper-to-bumper until 100k or November 2011. Which means for me that it essentially has the equivalent of a 3/36 bumper-to-bumper for 1/3rd or less the new price of anything equivalent.

  • avatar

    “…Right. Warranties like that always have preventative maintenance clauses. And if it means the difference between being accepted or denied I’ll pay for dealer maintenance and keep the records. If I was to buy a Hyundai I’d have all my work done at the dealer just so I could take advantage of the coverage if anything happened. Soon as the warranty is up, I head to my independent reliable mechanic…”

    A good point to consider: Do you have to go to the stealer for service to avoid the runaround? As good as a warranty may be, if you have to pay people – especially at stealer rates – you will amass a substantial sum on service, thereby negating some of the value of the warranty. Most dealers bend over backward to discourage getting service elsewhere, and denying a claim is a great incentive to brainwash people into their service bays…

    Warranty is really putting your mouth where your claims are. Ford should offer that 5 year bumper to bumper plan, now that they have the reliability to keep up with the Asians. Of course, if the quality falls off too quickly it will cost. A good incentive all around…

  • avatar
    Gardiner Westbound

    A warranty is only as good as a company’s integrity. The LA Times’ chronology of Toyota’s Lexus ES issues and customer care is an eyeopener. It appears integrity was in short supply!,0,6346767,full.story

  • avatar

    To get me into anything GM, I’d want to see 5yrs bumper-to-bumper, 7yrs powertrain, and at least 4yrs all routine maintenance paid. With synthetic oils, you’d take it in once a year with damn near everything paid for.

    There is another benefit…

    I’m convinced that the one thing that improves vehicles the fastest is long warranties the force the automaker to eat its own dog food (as Microsoft calls it). Nothing reaches them faster as when the money comes out of their own pocket. Short warranties = golden profits = stiffed customers.

    Chrysler put out many years of poorly designed, failure-prone transmissions. They and the Chryser dealers danced all the way to the bank making a mint of it. May they burn in hell on their way to bankruptcy.

  • avatar

    I don’t own a Kia, but a few coworkers have mentioned the difficulty of claiming problems under warranty. I wouldn’t be going down that road just yet.

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