Game to play Golf

Volk­swa­gen gets com­pet­i­tive — fi­nally — on ser­vic­ing costs

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Car News - PAUL GOVER CHIEF RE­PORTER

THE im­mi­nent ar­rival of the new Golf has trig­gered the over­due in­tro­duc­tion of capped-price ser­vic­ing at Volk­swa­gen.

More than five years af­ter Toy­ota slashed the un­pre­dictable costs of rou­tine new-car ser­vic­ing with a fixed­price plan, VW is fi­nally join­ing ev­ery­one from Nis­san to Ford, Holden, Hyundai and Kia.

VW says there has been no cus­tomer pres­sure to make the move and de­nies it has lost any sales to ri­vals be­cause it could not give cer­tainty on ser­vic­ing.

Yet Carsguide has fielded hundreds of cus­tomer com­plaints about Volk­swa­gen ser­vic­ing.

‘‘ We have had a lot of neg­a­tive cov­er­age in the media,’’ VW spokesman Karl Gehling says.

The Volk­swa­gen pro­gram cov­ers all of its pas­sen­ger mod­els and runs for six years, dou­bling the deal in its new­car war­ranty.

Un­like some brands, which set the service in­ter­vals at six months or put the dear­est ser­vic­ing just out­side of the capped pe­riod, VW says its deal is trans­par­ent.

‘‘ We al­ways said what we were look­ing at. There was work to do to en­sure we had the right pack­age and we wanted to make sure we of­fered a very com­pet­i­tive prod­uct,’’ says Gehling.

‘‘ It runs for six years and gives a very com­pre­hen­sive cov­er­age for any own­ers, well beyond the nor­mal war­ranty pe­riod.’’

Volk­swa­gen says it has been work­ing on the pro­gram for more than 18 months and, hav­ing tri­alled it on the Up city car from Oc­to­ber, is con­fi­dent it has the right pack­age.

‘‘ We’re not sub­sid­ing it. That’s the ac­cu­rate rep­re­sen­ta­tion of our run­ning costs,’’ says Gehling.

First-year or 15,000km ser­vices start at $280 for the Up and $519 for a V8 turbo diesel Touareg. At the other end, the fig­ures for 90,000km or 72 months are $391 and $988 re­spec­tively.

Show­room shop­pers can even cal­cu­late the service costs through the cov­er­age pe­riod, which range from $2440 for the Up to $4091 for an AWD Touareg V6 diesel.

‘‘ There are no hid­den costs,’’ says Gehling. ‘‘ And we give peo­ple a guar­an­tee, not just on the pur­chase price, but also the run­ning costs for the first six years.’’

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