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Subaru adds five-year warranty

Only two Top 10 brands have three years warranty after another car company boosts coverage.

And then there were two.

Market leader Toyota and fellow Japanese brand Nissan are now the only two in the Top 10 with a below average three-year warranty after Subaru boosted its coverage to five years from January 1, 2019.

Subaru introduced its five-year warranty on certain models in December – and had increased its standard three-year coverage during monthly sales promotions in recent years – but the new deal is permanent.

Subaru’s capped price servicing program also now stretches to five years across all models.

“This latest move to five-year warranty and Capped Price Servicing offers yet more peace-of-mind for our customers, who are among the most loyal in the Australian automotive industry,” said Subaru Australia Managing Director Colin Christie.

“While we have had periods of promotional five-year warranty on some models in recent times, this development offers our customers consistency right across the range.”

The warranty boost has created an embarrassing anomaly for Toyota on one particular model.

The Subaru BRZ and Toyota 86 sports coupe twins are mechanically identical and both made on the same production line.

Subaru gives BRZ buyers five years peace-of-mind while Toyota 86 owners only get protection from manufacturing defects for three years or 100,000km, whichever comes first.

Representatives for Toyota and Nissan told CarAdvice on New Year’s Eve that their warranties were not about to change from their current three-year coverage – and that they will continue to abide by Australian Consumer Law.

However, pressure is mounting now that the overwhelming majority of mainstream brands have moved to five- or seven-year coverage in the wake of closer scrutiny of the car industry by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC).

The move by more brands to a five-year warranty – or longer – comes 20 years after Hyundai first offered extended coverage as standard.

A timeline

The roster of car companies moving to five-year warranties in 2018 included Volkswagen (December), Mazda (August), Holden (July), and Ford (May).

As part of its relaunch, emerging Korean car maker Ssangyong boosted warranty coverage from five years to seven in September 2018, matching Kia’s industry-leading seven-year coverage introduced in October 2014.

Citroen adopted a six-year warranty in July 2014 but that coverage was wound back to three years in November 2017 after a change of distributor in Australia.

However, following a backlash, the importer of Citroen and its sister brand Peugeot increased warranty from three years to five on all models except vans from February 2018.

Honda introduced a five-year warranty in July 2017, and has since done monthly sales campaigns offering seven-year coverage on selected models.

Jeep launched its 'There & Back Guarantee' five-year warranty in February 2017.

Volkswagen’s sister brand Skoda moved to five-year warranty in January 2017.

Isuzu launched a five-year/130,000km warranty on its D-Max ute in January 2013 and the MU-X SUV gained the same coverage when it was introduced in November 2013.

Renault has had five-year warranty on passenger cars – but not sports models or vans – since April 2011.

Mitsubishi was the first brand to join pioneer Hyundai with permanent factory-backed five-year coverage, from December 2004.

Mitsubishi has since offered seven-year coverage on certain models during monthly sales promotions.

Hyundai was the first car brand in Australia with five-year warranty coverage across the range, introduced in 1999.

In August 2018, Hyundai Australia executives told media the company was considering increasing its warranty coverage from five years, in response to other brands eroding what was once a marketing advantage.

This reporter is on Twitter: @JoshuaDowling