Holden rules out seven-year warranty

Holden says there are no plans to introduce a permanent seven-year warranty, but is considering expanding its seven-year free servicing offer.
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Holden won't move to a seven-year warranty to win back buyers – but it could extend free servicing based on the success of its current offer on the Colorado four-wheel drive ute, and seven-seat Trailblazer and Acadia SUVs.

Holden boss Dave Buttner said the company has no plans to match Kia's seven-year, unlimited-kilometre warranty – which has led the industry since October 2014, and could soon be matched by Mitsubishi.

Although Holden experimented with a seven-year warranty across selected models in its range for the last three months of 2017, the promotion had mixed results.

"The warranty touchpoint with the dealer is not always the most positive experience, because you're going back there because you've got a problem with your vehicle," Mr Buttner told CarAdvice at the launch of Project Monaro.

"Something like a seven-year free service, it's a different kind of offering. And there's ... a couple more brands about to introduce a seven-year warranty, but you've got to look at your budget, your revenue, and look at what you can afford to do on an ongoing basis," he said.

According to Mr Buttner, customer enquiries about the Acadia, Colorado 4x4 and Trailblazer are up 40 per cent since the seven years free service offer was launched in October.

The four-wheel drive Colorado ute was comfortably Holden's best-selling vehicle in October with 1218 examples reported as sold, while the Acadia was the brand's third-best seller with 327 deliveries.

Although the large SUV segment was down 6.2 per cent year-to-date in 2019, Holden grew sales of the seven-seat Acadia by 61.1 per cent compared to October 2018.

Mr Buttner said there was more to the seven-year service program than just enticing buyers into the showroom.

"You give the dealers the opportunity to have another touchpoint with the customer with every free service, and build a relationship," he explained.

"Then when they get positive equity in the car you can talk about another vehicle, and you get a good used car back, and opportunities to service and finance."

Although free servicing is something for the "short term", Mr Buttner says Holden is searching for a point-of-difference "that we can have as an always-on type offering over time ... but we haven't really landed on exactly what that'll be yet".

Holden is enduring a tough 2019. It's down 26.6 per cent year-to-date, and suffered its worst month since 1948 in September.

There are some bright spots, however. Holden's rival to the Mazda CX-5, the Equinox, has grown its sales by 9.1 per cent throughout the year, and the ute-based Trailblazer seven-seater is up 7.7 per cent in a declining segment.