Things weren’t going too well for Volkswagen in 2017. Between poor perceived reliability, a lackluster product lineup, and oh yeah, the biggest emissions cheating scandal in the history of the automotive industry, the company needed a way to draw customers back to the brand. So in the latter half of that year, Volkswagen announced its ‘People First’ warranty, which applied to all 2018 model year vehicles (except for the e-Golf), and offered six years or 72,000 miles of bumper to bumper coverage; double the industry norm of three years and 36,000 miles. With a one-year and 12,000-mile advantage over Hyundai, Kia, and Genesis’ factory warranties, the People First warranty was the best in the industry.
Unfortunately though, the People First warranty was short-lived. Whether its discontinuation was the result of a sales rebound, or if VW was forced to pull the plug due to too many claims, we’ll never know. But starting with the 2020 model year, VW shortened its warranty to four years and 50,000 miles; still better than the majority of the market, but no longer industry-leading. But here’s the thing about the People First warranty offered from 2018 to 2019 – it’s fully transferable.
That’s right – according to VW’s press release at the time, “The People First Warranty transfers to subsequent owners for the remainder of its six-year or 72,000-mile coverage – helping protect your investment in a new VW.” Aside from being surprisingly consumer-friendly, what this means is that it’s still possible to buy a used Volkswagen with a remaining warranty balance that’s greater than what you get on a brand-new 2020 or 2021 model.
For example, let’s consider a 2019 Jetta GLI purchased new in August of 2019 that now has 8,000 miles on its odometer. If this vehicle transferred to a new owner in January of 2021, it would do so with roughly four years and seven months and 64,000 miles of warranty coverage remaining; better than the four years and 50,000 miles of coverage you’d get on a brand-new 2020 or 2021 model.
The presence of this warranty makes a used VW especially compelling. Personally, I’m a little tempted to start browsing for used 2018 or 2019 Golf Rs, knowing that they’ll come with roughly the same warranty coverage as a brand new one, but at a nice discount. Either way though, it’s worth keeping this in mind if you’re shopping for a VW, new or used. It isn’t often that a vehicle comes with this much warranty coverage, and it’s especially rare that a used vehicle offers more factory coverage than a brand new one. Find a 2018 Volkswagen for sale or Find a 2019 Volkswagen for sale
Chris O’Neill grew up in the rust belt and now lives in Salt Lake City, Utah. He worked in the auto industry for a while, helping Germans design cars for Americans. Find him on YouTube and on Instagram.