By on August 17, 2010

We object to the misleading, eye-catching advertisement, because contrary to the grandiose statement made in it, Opel is not actually offering a ‘lifetime’ guarantee

Reiner Münker of the German Wettbewerbszentrale (Center for Protection against Unfair Competition) lays into Opel’s recently-announced “lifetime guarantee” in the Wall Street Journal [sub]. Münker continues

In competition law, there’s a principle that forbids any marketing statement that contains objective untruth. Statements that are a “lie” at first glance can not be “clarified” with an asterisk or be made relative. We don’t reject the notion that this car guaranty is different from those offered by other manufacturers. But the misleading title “lifelong,” which suggests an unbeatable advantage over the competition, has no place in advertising.

And considering that the Opel warranty is limited to 160k kilometers, that seems like a fair conclusion. Unless of course Opel is admitting that its cars are literally not designed to go more than that distance. Either way, Opel’s major brand-building effort is not off to a good start.

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6 Comments on “Quote Of The Day: Truth In Warranties Edition...”


  • avatar
    HerrKaLeun

    They also need to clarify if they mean “lebenslang” for the life of the car, or the life of Opel. The latter might be a 2-year warranty then only :-)

  • avatar
    PeriSoft

    There’s a Hyundai dealership in town with a big sign advertising lifetime warranties… I almost want to go in and ask about it, but it would probably take three hours to figure out the fine print, and getting out the door would be like leaving for work with my two-year-old attached to my leg. Except that I love my two-year-old.

    • 0 avatar
      NulloModo

      There’s a local Toyota and Nissan store here that do the same thing. While there are probably a number of companies out there offering it, the one the local competitors use works along these lines:

      1. Powertrain only
      2. Void if you do not follow the recommended service schedule to the letter (i.e. if it says you need to change the timing belt at 60,000 miles, and you do it at 60,500, your warranty is no good)
      3. Service has to be done at a shop authorized by the warranty company
      4. The cost of the warranty is about $500 – $600, usually paid by the dealer, but obviously rolled into the price of the vehicle somewhere.

      The company that sells these plans make money off of it through kickbacks from the approved maintenance shops, and through the fact that these plans are non-transferable, and most car owners trade or sell their car before the manufacturers warranty ends anyway.

  • avatar
    BMWfan

    This belongs in the hall of shame along with BMW’s lifetime fluids.
    BTW, HerrKaLeun, Traitor here. Where did you get that lovely outfit skippy?

  • avatar
    obbop

    GMC tied into Opel????

    Well…

    Just recite the “Can not replicate the problem so no warranty work for you” I heard so regularly from GMC/Chevy during my warranty period for the 2004 Silverado.

    Worked back then and with the anti-consumer corporate and business-friendly statutes within Nebraska the courts were not a viable option and corporate GMC babbled “Take it to the dealer” when I gave up on multiple dealers and tried other options until forced to “chalk up” the entire affair to liveth and learneth.

    Sorta kinda akin to product warranties/guarantees that require the consumer to pay shipping both ways… a cost that is greater than the covered product’s new cost.

  • avatar
    Tricky Dicky

    Opel are suggesting that the average annual mileage of a consumer is approx. 50% less than the average given by any other manufacturer. So their definition of “Lifetime” = 12 years average driving, rather than the typical 8 years 160,000km would equate to.

    TBH, I don’t know how their cars suddenly becaome so reliable and solidly built. In reality, this just means that the later life visits to the repair shop should be (caveats on the contract?) refunded, I’d rather have a car that didn’t break down in the first place. The coming months will show us if the average German consumer really is stupid or not…

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