Anyone who buys a new car from a Top 10 brand will get at least five years factory-backed warranty from today.
Nissan – the last of the Top 10 to offer extended coverage – has finally added a five-year/unlimited-kilometre warranty across the range and included five-year roadside assistance for good measure.
The announcement means all Top 10 brands have at least a five-year warranty although some still go the extra mile; Kia has a seven-year warranty, while other brands such as Mitsubishi and Honda also offer seven-year coverage during sales promotions.
Less than two years ago, seven of the Top 10 brands only had three-year coverage.
However, following an intensive review of the car industry, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has compelled manufacturers to better handle warranty complaints instead of repeatedly knocking back legitimate claims.
The filling out of the Top 10 brands with a five-year warranty – or more – now shifts the focus on luxury brands, most of whom still only have three-year coverage.
Luxury brands for both Toyota (Lexus) and Nissan (Infiniti) will retain their four-year warranties for the time being – even though their mainstream partner brands have five – while Audi, BMW, Mercedes and Jaguar-Land Rover continue to stick with three-year warranties.
Nissan didn’t give an explanation for why it took so long to join its peers with five-year coverage, although the timing does coincide with today’s start of a new Japanese financial year.
Contrary to popular belief, longer warranties cost car companies more money because they need to hold back a larger portion of the profit to cover future potential claims.
Nissan sales have also taken a hit in recent times; year-to-date deliveries are down by 19.3 per cent, more than twice the rate of slowdown of the total car market (8.4 per cent).
In a media statement Nissan Australia managing director Stephen Lester said: “Five year warranty provides our customers with both confidence in the Nissan brand and our vehicles.”
“Nissan is committed to delivering the best total ownership experience, and whether it’s sales, service or finance, warranty plays an important role in delivering complete customer satisfaction.”
Nissan says its five-year warranty will also be available on the new Leaf electric car due in local showrooms in August.
Meanwhile, the pioneer of five-year warranty in Australia – Hyundai – is yet to update its position since last year when executives said they were considering increasing warranty coverage because five years had become the norm.
Hyundai was the first brand in Australia to offer five-year warranty across the range, introducing the extended coverage in 1999.
Mitsubishi was second with permanent factory-backed five-year coverage, from December 2004.
Hyundai’s sister brand Kia aced the lot, though, when it introduced a permanent factory-backed seven-year warranty across the range from October 2014.
Kia remains the only brand inside the Top 10 with permanent seven-year warranty coverage.
This reporter is on Twitter: @JoshuaDowling