Market leader Toyota has finally bowed to public pressure and will boost warranty coverage from three years to five on every new model sold from January 1, 2019.
The warranty will extend to seven years on the engine and drivetrain on “properly maintained vehicles” that are equipped with genuine Toyota parts.
Private buyers will get a five year/unlimited kilometre warranty while commercial and business fleets will get a five year/160,000km warranty.
The “Toyota Warranty Advantage” applies to every model from the Toyota Yaris city car all the way to LandCruiser heavy duty four-wheel-drives – and petrol, diesel and hybrid models.
“It’s not about following the pack … it’s responding to the needs of consumers,” said Toyota Australia sales and marketing boss Sean Hanley.
“Not all new vehicle warranties are created equally. Many have an impressive headline number … but don’t deliver on what matters.”
Toyota says its warranty will also provide a loan car and/or free towing if a vehicle requiring a warranty repair is undriveable.
There will also be a 60-day money-back guarantee if a new Toyota is undriveable in the first two months of ownership.
“These changes have come about because we wanted to focus on … the total ownership experience,” said Mr Hanley.
“Our customers can tell you that we’ve always looked after them and now we have formalised this. We’ve undergone a rapid transformation in the past two years to move with the times … and to keep improving.”
Subaru followed on January 1, 2019, and Toyota announced today.
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