Thursday, July 13, 2006

Ford to expand powertrain warranties on Ford, Mercury, and Lincoln

Ford, in what certainly seems like a smart move to overcome perceived quality problems with all domestic manufacturers, is increasing warranty coverage on the Ford, Mercury, and Lincoln brands.

Ford and Mercury will get a 5 year, 60000 mile powertrain warranty in addition to its 3 year, 36000 mile bumper-to-bumper. Previously, the powertrain warranty was also 3 year, 36000 miles.

Lincoln, which has had a 4 year, 50000 mile bumper to bumper and powertrain warranty, will now get its powertrain warranty expanded to 6 years and 70000 miles.

All brands will also expand their road-side assistance program to last until the end of the powertrain warranty.

The warranties will be effective on all 2007 model year vehicles - including those already sold to customers (a nice surprise, I'm sure).

This is a smart move on Ford's part. Hyundai and Kia (as well as Suzuki) have all made great strides in customer acceptance through expanded warranty coverage. Consumers have shown remarkable resistance to trusting brands based on JD Power and other quality survey numbers. The domestics have made great strides in quality, matching and occasionally surpassing quality leaders like Honda and Toyota - but customers have been reluctant to consider domestic brands anyway.

If this move shows to be successful and getting through to these customers, expect GM and Chrysler to follow suit.

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