A Story about Expensive Car Warranties and Respect

This may come as a surprise for some folks out there, but you need to realize that there are things in life whose value can be quantified in more than one way, and not everything costs money.
2016 Porsche Cayman GT4 1 photo
Photo: Porsche
But cars cost money, don't they?” you will so candidly ask me. Sure they do, but that doesn't mean that every car out there has a value that can be translated directly into cold, hard, cash. Look at classic cars, or at modern supercars. In the case of the former, their monetary value can go up or down depending on the overall market's tendency.

Not only that, what could be worth millions for one person could also be worth peanuts for somebody else. This is probably why it's pretty hard to quantify the value of a classic car, and why professional appraisals usually cost money by themselves.

An example at hand is one of former Romanian dictator Ceausescu's cars, a perfectly kept Mercedes-Benz SL from the R107 generation. The car was originally sold at an auction for 50,000 euros (approx. $55,000), which is an OK-ish price for an SL is from 1973 in almost perfect condition. Is that a good price for a Mercedes-Benz that used to belong to a somewhat famous dictator? You tell me, I have no idea.

Someone seems to have an idea, though, because the car is once again for sale, six months later, and now the asking price is 80,000 euros (approx. $88,000). Has the car been improved in any way since we last saw it? Not exactly, but the new owner seems to think that this particular SL's credentials make it a lot more valuable compared to a regular model, and I am not to argue. In other words, different strokes for different folks make a classic car worth more or less.

Getting back to modern cars, especially those of the more expensive variety, I'm begging to think that some if not most carmakers are taking their customers for granted. Not only that, but they probably believe that whoever buys their cars is a bit of an idiot who likes to throw money out the window.

Because, in many ways, this is pretty much what anyone that buys a 100,000+ new car is doing with his or her money: throwing it away. Don't get me wrong, I'm not advocating that we should all buy cheap means of transportation, and for plenty of reasons.

A 200 grand Porsche will out-accelerate, out-brake and out-handle any 20 grand econobox, I am very well aware of that. A Panamera Turbo is obviously a much better car overall compared to a Ford Fiesta Sedan, from whatever perspective you're looking at the situation. Is it ten times better, though? I'm not so sure.

Then again, this was probably a childish example. How about when we compare the Panamera Turbo to a BMW M3? Is a fully loaded sedan from Porsche twice as good as a fully loaded sedan from BMW? Because that's what the pricing difference seems to suggest.

Maybe it is, maybe it isn't, and as I mentioned before, a car's value is highly subjective. On the other hand, I can't stop thinking that some cars are hugely overpriced for very vague and intangible reasons, such as brand image, subtle marketing, etc.

The worst part is that when you draw the line, you end up with a much bigger hole in your finances buying a somewhat mainstream but expensive car and without getting that much in return. Almost all cars have four wheels, one (or more) engine, electronics and other thingamajigs that comprise them. They are all also bound to break at some point, which reminds of something.

Don't think that I have something against Porsche, because I'm one of their biggest fans, but did you know that any technical problem you have with your 911 GT3, or your Cayman GT4 is not covered by your 2-3-4 year manufacturer warranty if you were tracking your car when it happened? “Abuse, accident, acts of God, competition, racing, track use, or other events.” This quote is taken straight from Porsche North America's website, where it lists the type of reasons for voiding your warranty.

I don't exactly know what acts of God are in Porsche-speak, but I do know that the Cayman GT4 and the 911 GT3 and GT3RS were pretty much bred for the track. They are almost racing cars for the road, and despite their everyday driving prowess, probably feel the best while hugging the Nurburgring's 154 turns.

Don't think this is just Porsche, many sports car makers do the same, with the exception of McLaren, maybe, who actually encourages owners to track their cars without losing their manufacturer warranty.

Either way, I find it frivolous that nobody talks about this and take these “rules” for granted. For the amount of money you pay for a top of the line Porsche, BMW, Ferrari, etc. you should be getting a lot more than just very nice car. You should be getting a very nice service as well. How about a lifetime warranty on certain parts that wear out over time, such as brakes, fluids, batteries and stuff like that? Carmakers already make plenty of money selling you a somewhat overpriced piece of engineering, but if you remain their customer they're pretty much like a bank in skinning you alive with service costs.

And everyone knows that changing the oil and brake pads on a Ferrari 488 is quite a bit more expensive than doing the exact same thing on a Mercedes-AMG C63, for example. Both are performance and quite expensive cars, but one of them is a bit better than the other one an spending your money.

All I'm saying is that some carmakers have got us by the gonads and think that they can toy with both our feelings and our wallets like they're an Eastern European trophy wife, and just because they can. Well, they shouldn't, and I want to gather as many people as possible to try and change the system. Am I alone in thinking this?
If you liked the article, please follow us:  Google News icon Google News Youtube Instagram
About the author: Alex Oagana
Alex Oagana profile photo

Alex handled his first real steering wheel at the age of five (on a field) and started practicing "Scandinavian Flicks" at 14 (on non-public gravel roads). Following his time at the University of Journalism, he landed his first real job at the local franchise of Top Gear magazine a few years before Mircea (Panait). Not long after, Alex entered the New Media realm with the project.
Full profile


Would you like AUTOEVOLUTION to send you notifications?

You will only receive our top stories