Although the announcement of Kia Connect capped priced servicing follows similar moves by sister-company Hyundai last week, Kia has been working on the scheme for over a year with the intention of providing the best of its kind in the business.
For a start, Kia’s system covers its cars for the entire five-year unlimited kilometre warranty duration (regardless of ownership changes), which is superior to market leaders Toyota and Hyundai, which limit their capped price servicing strategy to a certain number of kilometres.
The capped-price servicing strategy is a win-win for both consumers and Kia. On the one hand Kia buyers are assured of the maximum possible cost for a service across all Kia Australia dealerships prior to servicing and on the other, dealers are more likely to retain customers.
Kia is also providing a complimentary three-month/3000km vehicle check service which it says is designed to start the buyer's relationship with the dealer service department.
Currently only 50 per cent of new Kia buyers return to an authorised Kia dealership for servicing by the end of the first 12 months of ownership, that figure drops down to 35 percent by the third year.
The capped-price servicing strategy will entice customers to come back to dealerships at least once a year (or every 15,000km), which not only certifies a by-the-book service (securing the warranty), but also helps maintain the value of the vehicle by having authorised services. Nonetheless, as a further reward, Kia will offer free roadside assistance for the five-year warranty period so long as the vehicle is serviced at a Kia dealership.
One of the highlights of the Kia Connect capped-price servicing system is that it also applies to a great deal of already sold Kia vehicles, which is unlike that of Hyundai’s which excluded owners who bought a vehicle before August 1.
The system will apply to current-generation Kia Rio (sold after August, 2011), Soul (after April, 2009), Cerato (after January, 2009), Optima (after January, 2011), Rondo (after April, 2008), Carnival (after August, 2008), Sportage (after August, 2010) and Sorento (sold after August, 2009) starting from September.
Comparing Hyundai to Kia, we note that the cost of a 15,000km service for a 1.4-litre Hyundai i20 and Kia Rio (which use the same engine and transmission systems) differs by $40 in favour of the Hyundai. Kia points out that the difference is due to its technicians replacing the pollen filter in the Rio, something that an i20 doesn’t get as part of its regular service. On the other hand, it’s $50 cheaper ($349) to service a Kia Sportage diesel than the equivalent Hyundai ix35 diesel.
Holden and Ford were recent subscribers to the new system, joining the servicing revolution behind the early adopters of Toyota, Nissan and Mitsubishi.
Full servicing costs for Kia vehicles are listed in the table below.