Volkswagen is out to redress the long-held perception that European-sourced cars are more expensive to service.
It’s currently toying with the notion of five-year warranties, and now the German brand has introduced fixed-service bundles over both three- and five-year periods on all of its passenger and commercial cars.
Called (unsurprisingly) the Service Plan, VW claims it’ll reduce services costs across its entire range over a three year period by up to $200, and by up to $400 on five-year deals.
“We’ve always maintained that European cars are no more expensive to run,” said Volkswagen Australia’s PR manager Kurt McGuiness. “The Service Plan goes a long way towards proving that.”
Looking at the brand’s best seller, the Golf hatchback as an example, the Service Plan deal – which needs to be purchased up-front when you buy your new car - costs $1931 over five years. Scheduled servicing, by comparison, will set you back $2324 over the same five years, according to the company’s website. This is a saving of $411.
While it’s closed the gap, VW is still dearer to service than its Asian-sourced competitors. If you look at something similar in size and value, a Mazda3 small hatchback [will cost $1770 to service over five years, some $161 cheaper than VW’s new Service Plan.
And this is despite the Mazda requiring more frequent servicing, with intervals capped at 10,000km rather than 15,000km.
VW says that its Service Plan includes pollen filters, consumables like oil and brake fluids and a wash and vacuum, along with “scheduled service labour and workshop costs”.
Read next: Mazda extends warranty period to five years
So, what’s the catch? As with the vast majority of industry-driven fixed-price packages, you’re locked into servicing your car exclusively at a VW dealer, you need to pay for all of the services up front, and you need to book in at the prescribed 12 month/15,000km intervals. Paying up front does protect you from any price rises during the five years, though.
The plan does allow you to pick any dealer that’s convenient, and is transferable to a new owner should you decide to sell your car before it runs out.