As I was finishing up my review of the 2009 Volkswagen Routan SE, I was just about to noteÂ one of the biggest things hindering the sales of VW's latest minivan. While the Routan's almost-identical cousins, the Dodge Grand Caravan and Chrysler Town & Country, both offered Chrysler's Lifetime Powertrain Warranty, the best the German van could managed to offer was VW's Carefree Maintenance Program. Had I posted earlier in the day, my information would have been incorrect by day's end as Chrysler announced that it was ending the lifetime warranty program after just two years on the market.
Chrysler introduced its Lifetime Powertrain Warranty program back in 2007 to compete with rival automakers offering 100,000 mile warranties, and it was available on all Chrysler, Dodge and Jeep products excluding SRT and diesel-powered vehicles. It was a groundbreaking program that certainly drove customers to dealership showrooms, but many complained about the inability to transfer the warranty when selling the vehicle to a new owner. Chrysler claims that this is the reason it is dropping the lifetime aspect, but we suspect it had more to do with the costs associated with the program.
In place of the lifetime warranty, Chrysler will now offer a five-year/100,000-mile (5/100) powertrain warranty that is able to transfer to subsequent vehicle owners. An added benefit of the new program is that it now applies to a wider number of Chrysler vehicles such as performance-tuned SRT models ranging from the Dodge Caliber SRT4 up to the Viper SRT10 as well as fleet and police vehicles. The new powertrain warranty program goes into effect on all 2010 model Chrysler, Dodge and Jeep products except for the Dodge Sprinter and diesel-powered Ram models.
When owners of Chrysler vehicles covered under the lifetime warranty tried to sell their cars, the warranty reverted back to a three-year/36,000-mile powertrain warranty for the new owner. Like the lifetime program, the 5/100 powertrain warranty will have no deductible, and all new cars are still covered by a three-year/36,000-mile bumper-to-bumper warranty.