Opel's Lifetime Warranty Dies At Age One

Bertel Schmitt
by Bertel Schmitt

Aftre just one year on the market, Opel is ditching its Lifetime Warranty, says Das Autohaus in Germany. I don’t know how many new customers that braggadocious warranty got Opel, but it definitely got Opel into hot water. Everybody, from consumer advocates to Germany’s umbrella organization of the car business ZDK, was against it. Consumer advocates even brought suit.

Das Autohaus thinks that the lawsuit made Opel retract the offer. Also, Opel dealers already had to fund the warranty with €150 per car. Opel wanted more, says Das Autohaus, and the dealers balked.

The party line at Opel is that the warranty is no longer needed to boost the confidence of presumptive Opel buyers, because the confidence has been resurrected. According to Das Autohaus, Opel will offer an extended warranty to current Lifetime customers – at prices of €10 per month on up. This will not restore confidence in a company that had offered a warranty for life, only to kill it after a year.

“Lifetime” was a huge stretch anyway. The warranty came with such a litany of fine print that you felt had even before the first warranty claim was denied.

Bertel Schmitt
Bertel Schmitt

Bertel Schmitt comes back to journalism after taking a 35 year break in advertising and marketing. He ran and owned advertising agencies in Duesseldorf, Germany, and New York City. Volkswagen A.G. was Bertel's most important corporate account. Schmitt's advertising and marketing career touched many corners of the industry with a special focus on automotive products and services. Since 2004, he lives in Japan and China with his wife <a href="http://www.tomokoandbertel.com"> Tomoko </a>. Bertel Schmitt is a founding board member of the <a href="http://www.offshoresuperseries.com"> Offshore Super Series </a>, an American offshore powerboat racing organization. He is co-owner of the racing team Typhoon.

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