Volkswagen Group is trying to win back American customers after its diesel-emissions scandal with SUV warranties that it said will be the longest in the U.S.
Ahead of the New York auto show, the automaker said Tuesday it will offer a six-year, 72,000-mile warranty on its new 2018 Atlas and 2018 Tiguan SUVs that go on sale later this year.
That compares with three-year/36,000-mile bumper-to-bumper warranties available across much of the rest of the industry, and it is longer than the five-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranties also offered by most competitors.
"We're confident in the reliability and workmanship of these SUVs, and we want our customers to be confident in their purchase," Volkswagen Group of America CEO Hinrich Woebcken said in a statement. "We believe this warranty will lead to reduced cost of ownership for Volkswagen owners."
The move comes as the brand strives to move beyond diesel-emissions violations and as it alters its U.S. product lineup to bolster its crossover and electrified offerings.
Volkswagen brand's year-on-year U.S. light-vehicle sales have advanced five consecutive months, including March, after a yearlong skid caused by the scandal.
The 2018 Atlas, with three-row seating and built in VW's plant in Chattanooga, arrives in dealerships this spring. The redesigned 2018 Tiguan, with two-row seating, will arrive later this year.
The rest of VW's U.S. lineup will remain with a standard three-year/36,000-mile bumper-to-bumper warranty. The added warranty coverage will also be offered only to U.S. customers, a brand spokesman said.
Michael DiFeo, chairman of the Volkswagen National Dealer Advisory Council and dealer principal of Linden Volkswagen in Roselle, N.J., said the industry-best bumper-to-bumper transferrable warranty will help VW stand out in a crowded crossover segment.
"This is gigantic," DiFeo said. "Right now, the No. 1 objection [among consumers] that research has shown was the perceived cost of ownership for VW. This is the best way for VW to show that they're going to stand behind their product."
Pricing for the 2018 Atlas starts at $31,425 for the base S trim that comes with a four-cylinder turbocharged 2.0-liter engine and front-wheel drive. The 3.6-liter V-6 S fwd model starts at $32,825 while the V-6 S with all-wheel drive starts at $34,625. Prices include a $925 shipping charge. The top-end AWD Atlas SEL Platinum trim starts at $49,415, including shipping.
DiFeo noted that the Atlas marks the brand's first three-row crossover in the U.S., which will require dealers to conquest all of their transactions in the segment. With pricing competitive in the segment, the added warranty "is just a very, very strong reason to make a leap and try a Volkswagen if they're coming from a different brand."
Reuters contributed to this report