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Volkswagen Reduces Carefree Maintenance Plan Coverage for 2014 Model Year

By: Jeff Youngs, 9/26/2013
Since 2009, Volkswagen has offered a Carefree Maintenance plan on all new models, providing VW buyers with free scheduled maintenance for the first 3 years or 36,000 miles of ownership. After an initial Courtesy Vehicle Check at the 90-day or 6,000-mile mark, VW dealers would change the vehicle's oil, replace filters, rotate the tires, top off the fluids, and perform vehicle inspections every 10,000 miles.

For the 2014 model year, Volkswagen's Carefree Maintenance plan is reduced by one year and 12,000 miles. A new Volkswagen Double Check replaces the Courtesy Vehicle Check, and can be performed at any time within the first 30 days of ownership. During the Volkswagen Double Check, owners can have the dealer answer any questions and explain any vehicle features that might be causing dissatisfaction. The new Carefree Maintenance plan also covers two service stops instead of three, one at 10,000 miles and one at 20,000 miles.

In response to a question asking why the company is reducing the level of coverage offered by the Carefree Maintenance plan, Volkswagen spokesperson Darryll Harrison explained that when the automaker first introduced the program for the 2009 model year, there was a consumer perception that VW models were less reliable and more expensive to maintain than competing vehicles.

"Our reliability is steadily improving and the true cost of long-term ownership is decreasing, thanks in large part to our extensive work in product quality and improvement in dealer service," Harrison told J.D. Power. "The switch to a 2-year/24,000-mile (whichever occurs first) program allows us to continue to offer a significant value to our customers while still providing an advantage over most competitors in terms of maintenance offerings."

With Volkswagen dealers in the process of clearing out remaining 2013 models, car buyers may wish to take the change in the Carefree Maintenance plan into consideration when making a decision about which VW to buy.

Keep in mind, though, that for the 2014 model year Volkswagen is phasing out its popular 2.5-liter 5-cylinder engine in favor of a new turbocharged, 1.8-liter 4-cylinder engine that makes just as much horsepower and more torque across a broader and more accessible portion of the rev range, while simultaneously improving fuel economy. The company is also rolling out its new Car-Net smartphone connectivity and telematics technology, is expanding its R-Line of sport-tuned models, and is making all of its engines E15-compatible.

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