With the likes of Hyundai, Kia, Honda, Peugeot and plenty of others offering five or seven-year warranties, the question has come up as to why Toyota, Mazda and others have so far stayed stagnant in their approach to consumer warranties.
Toyota Australia’s vice-president for sales and marketing, Sean Hanley, told CarAdvice that while the company will continue to monitor the situation, it has no plans to extend the warranty beyond the current three-year / 100,000km offering.
“We have no plans to change the warranty that we have today,” Hanley said.
“But having said that we are watching the market very carefully and very aware of competitor movements, we have built a reputation for quality, durability and reliability (QDR) and we don’t see any need right now to respond to what competitors may do in that space, we will continue to monitor it and watch very carefully the trends.”
Although Toyota Australia may still only offer a three-year warranty, Australian consumers are actually protected by a much broader warranty approach under Australian Consumer Law that states that a warranty needs to apply for a ‘reasonable’ period of time. It would seem reasonable that if a Honda or Kia can last seven years under its warranty, a Toyota should do the same.
Hanley points out that the current warranty period has not affected sales, with those that own or have owned a Toyota in the past well aware that the brand’s reliability and build quality stacks up as one of the best.
“I think our customers trust Toyota, and trust its QDR so, therefore, those that have owned Toyotas really rarely in the greater picture have warranty issues and I think people who have owned our product understand it’s reliable.”
Kia has seen tremendous growth in Australia as it spearheaded its seven-year warranty campaign that has now been matched by the likes of Holden - if only as a limited-time promotion.
Arguably Toyota does not need to extend itself to such a long warranty period if there is no clear evidence that customers expect it, given its market perception for reliability. Even so, that begs the question as to why an extended warranty is not offered if issues are unlikely to arise.
“We have been number one for 15 years in Australia, but I got to tell you that being number one in our world is far deeper than volume, it’s about a customer experience and we want to be number one in that space. We've got the product, we do very well in customer service and surveys, and we will continue to strive to improve in that space," Hanley said.
"Four years ago we started a journey with our dealers, a ‘standards program’, where we focused very clearly on the guest experience. It's paying dividends for us now.”
For now, Toyota buyers that seek to have an extended warranty can do so under Toyota’s financial services arm, at a cost.