Kia led the warranty charge in Australia with its seven-year, unlimited-kilometre offering, and appears determined to maintain its leadership in the space. The company has once again confirmed it would consider a 10-year warranty, if the wider market encroached on its turf by extending to seven years.
There's no guarantee it'll be required, of course. Other manufacturers are only just starting to catch up with full-time five-year offerings and occasional seven-year promotions, but that doesn't mean Kia isn't ready to respond.
Speaking with media at the launch of the updated Sportage, Kia Australia chief operating officer, Damien Meredith, said the company stands by its product, and is up for a warranty battle if necessary.
"I did say a couple of months ago that if we were challenged seriously, we will look at our options. I don't think anybody is coming hard at us with seven years and unlimited kilometres, but we've got a patch to protect and we think it has given a great position in the market, we will protect that patch," Meredith said.
How far would Kia go if it was challenged? Meredith was asked whether it would push towards a 10-year warranty, if the option was provided by head office.
"If head office came and offered a longer warranty, we'd have to pick ourselves up off the floor first. But we definitely would [increase warranty] look at it [a 10-year warranty]. It's done within other regions where Kias are sold."
"Other manufacturers are still knocking about on the fringe of seven-year warranty. Some models are on, some models are off, I've got to say my personal view is that has got to be confusing to the consumer. Warranty clerks down the track are going to be in a bit of trouble [with consumer confusion]. I think there's going to be a bit of that," Meredith said.
Despite common misconceptions, the cost to increase a warranty climbs exponentially beyond the five-year marker, which is part of the reason other manufacturers have been hesitant to follow suit. The move from seven to 10 years also has its cost hurdles.
"Well, there's cost involved [in increasing from seven to 10 years]. There's no question about that. What it is, the guys have been crunching the numbers for a month or two now in regards to [a] ten-year warranty, but the cost of a seven-year warranty, the cost of a ten-year warranty is not like that [a smooth line], it's like a hockey stick."
If Kia did make the move from a seven year warranty to a 10 year offering, would that sway your purchase decision any more than just a seven year warranty?