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GM warranty cuts leave Chrysler on top

by Bill Cawthon on

Automotive News today reported that General Motors is cutting back its five-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty to five years or 60,000 miles. The change will be effective on 2016 model-year Chevrolet and GMC vehicles.


The announcement came in a memo sent to dealers yesterday.

GM also is cutting back on its free two years of routine maintenance. Instead of the four visits currently covered, customers will get two no-charge services. This change will affect 2016 Buick, Chevrolet and GMC vehicles.

This means that Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep and Ram are the only American-brand vehicles that still offer a five-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty. Ford’s warranty is already five years/60,000 miles.

GM made the move because it said the longer warranty and covered maintenance weren’t big selling points. The company said it will invest the savings realized through the shorter warranties into programs that customers have said they value more.

Karl Brauer, senior analyst for Kelley Blue Book, said: “Extended warranty coverage and free maintenance will lower a vehicle’s cost of ownership, yet these features tend to go unnoticed by the majority of new-car shoppers. It’s unfortunate more buyers don’t value these items, but for a large automaker like GM it’s possible these features add substantial costs while having minimal impact on sales.”

Bill Cawthon grew up in the auto industry in the 1950s. His Dad worked for Chrysler and Bill spent a number of Saturdays down on the plant floor at Dodge Main in Hamtramck. Bill is also the U.S. market correspondent for, a British auto industry publication, and a member of the Texas Auto Writers Association, which has named the Jeep Grand Cherokee the “SUV of Texas” several times and named the Ram 1500 as the “Truck of Texas” two years running.

Bill has owned five Plymouths (including the only 1962 “Texan”), one Dodge and one Chrysler and is still trying to figure out how to justify a Wrangler. He also has owned at least one of every 1:87 scale model of a Chrysler product. You can reach him directly at (206) 888-7324 or by using the form.

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