Mitsubishi has hinted for the second time in two months that it will move to a permanent seven-year warranty across the range, rather than as a special offer on the Triton ute.
The seven-year/150,000km warranty — up from the standard five years/unlimited kilometres — was introduced with the facelifted Triton in December 2018.
However, speaking at the launch of the updated 2020 Triton ute, Mitsubishi Australia deputy director for marketing Derek McIlroy said the company was edging closer to seven-year warranty across the rest of the range but it was too early to make an announcement.
Mitsubishi has extended the seven-year warranty deal on Triton until the end of the year, leading to the possibility all other models in the range could adopt longer coverage from January 1, 2020.
“We’re studying everything,” said Mr McIlroy when asked if seven-year warranty coverage would soon apply to the brand’s SUV range.
“Originally Mitsubishi did tend to lead in terms of warranty coverage,” he said, referring to the introduction of five-year warranty in December 2004, the second brand to do so after Hyundai in 1999.
Since March this year, all of Australia’s top 10 brands have five- or seven-year warranties, after most increased their coverage from three years once the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission put the industry on notice 18 months ago.
“We’ve probably come back to the pack in that regard,” said Mr McIlroy. “We have a lot of faith in our cars, so it’s something we think we can take an advantage [of] when the time’s right.”
Mitsubishi wouldn’t be drawn on timing, however he added: “We wouldn’t be studying it if we weren’t confident at some point we would be able to do something. It’s definitely something as a brand we’re looking at.”
The company says it is also reviewing its capped price servicing program, which currently runs out after three years or 45,000km, whichever comes first, and covers only the first three services. Most other brands have price certainty on routine servicing for the length of the warranty period or beyond.
“It’s part of the whole study,” said Mr McIlroy. “Hopefully some time soon we’ll be able to share that, but not today.”
The comments about a seven-year warranty echo those of Mitsubishi Australia boss John Signoriello, who told media last month, “We are actually looking at a few initiatives that looks at warranty".
“Let’s just say that we are working on a few things at the moment. It’s [down to] business case. If we can make it stack up, we will come out with something that’s quite competitive".
At the moment, Mitsubishi Japan covers the warranty cost for the first five years and Mitsubishi Australia covers the cost of the additional two years warranty for the Triton to bring total coverage to seven years.
Contrary to perception, warranties aren’t free. Car companies hold back a portion of the profit from each vehicle to cover future warranty claims. The longer the warranty, the more money needs to be set aside for each vehicle sold.
At the moment, Mitsubishi Australia is covering the warranty cost from five to seven years in the same way Kia Australia finances its warranty coverage from five years to seven. Kia's sister brand Hyundai is also considering a move to seven-year coverage.
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 introduced a permanent factory-backed seven-year warranty across the range from October 2014.
Since then, all other top 10 brands have introduced five-year coverage.
Subaru and Toyota followed with five-year warranty coverage in January 2019, while Nissan rounded out the top 10 by adopting five-year coverage in April 2019, timed to coincide with the start of the Japanese financial year.
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 years/unlimited kilometres on all models except vans (which have five year/200,000km coverage) from February 2018.
Jeep launched its 'There & Back Guarantee' five-year warranty in February 2017.
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.
In December 2018 Mitsubishi added seven-year/150,000km warranty to the Triton ute (up from five years/unlimited kilometres) as a special offer, but it was extended to continue all the way through to the end of 2019.
As this article was published, Kia remains the only brand inside the top 10 with permanent seven-year warranty coverage across its range.