Mitsubishi could soon be the first car manufacturer to offer a 10-year warranty in Australia, though the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission is yet to give its tick of approval.
Under the plan, buyers would be covered for 10 years or 200,000km, whichever comes first — but to be eligible for the deal, owners would have to have the vehicle serviced at a Mitsubishi dealership.
After five years, the warranty would be extended in 12-month intervals each time the vehicle is serviced by a dealer.
The ACCC is investigating the proposed move, as Australian Consumer Law makes it illegal for car makers to void a warranty if an owner services their vehicle at a recognised independent dealer and abides by the manufacturer’s servicing schedule.
But Mitsubishi is hoping to get its proposal across the line thanks to the fine print.
It currently offers a five-year warranty, which it says will continue regardless of where the vehicle is serviced.
The 10-year offer would be transferable to a second or third owner, while other aspects of the planned program would include four years roadside assist and 10 years/150,000km of capped priced servicing.
In essence, Mitsi is saying customers technically don’t lose out on anything if they don’t service at its dealerships.
The ACCC is accepting submissions from interested parties until October 2 and will then adjudicate whether to take action or let Mitsubishi proceed later in the month.
The brand has played with its warranties in the past, occasionally offering a seven-year deal, while it offered non-transferable 10 years and 160,000km of coverage on powertrain components before scrapping it in 2016.
“Of course we also have faith that our products are reliable and dependable when serviced outside the dealership,” a Mitsubishi spokesperson told WestWHEELS.
“However, there is a difference when a vehicle consistently uses an incorrect oil, filters and fluids — and when a vehicle is serviced outside the network, MMAL cannot guarantee that it has been serviced to specification.
“Our faith grows when we have an understanding of when and how the service was performed, and … which parts were used.”
Customer data shows that Mitsubishi owners are keeping their vehicles for longer than the current five years on average, and therefore we believe this new Diamond Advantage program will give them peace of mind for the life of their vehicle.”
Currently, seven years is the best warranty going.
Kia has benefited greatly from introducing its seven-year/unlimited kilometre program in 2014 and has said in the past it was ready to offer a decade of coverage “within days” should a rival announce a warranty deemed a threat.
A company spokesperson this week told WestWHEELS Kia would consider a 10 year warranty but “won’t be considering further/speculating at this early stage of another brand’s application”.
It offers a 10-year warranty in the US, capped at 160,000km.
Low sellers MG, Haval and Ssangyong are the only other brands to offer a seven-year deal in Australia, all of which cover unlimited kilometres, while Isuzu Ute has a six-year/150,000km deal.
Check coverage when striking a deal
Car companies often like to spruik their after-sales programs as a bundle including warranty, capped-price servicing and roadside assist for how many years and/or distance travelled.
And while it’s illegal for manufacturers to void your warranty if you get your car serviced somewhere other than a dealership, you may want to read the fine print when it comes to other aspects of the coverage.
Roadside assistance is a big one. For example, Kia says it includes seven years of roadside coverage as part of its 7-7-7 deal.
However, if you buy a Kia today, it’s important to note you don’t necessarily have roadside assist coverage until 2027.
Rather, as many other brands do, Kia will give you a year’s worth of roadside assist which will only be renewed for another 12 months if you get the car serviced at a dealership.
They will then renew it in 12-month intervals for the term of the coverage, so long as you service it at a dealer.
So if you’ve been having your car serviced by an independent, your warranty will be fine but there won’t be any free help coming if you break down out Woop Woop.
Also, car companies offering capped price servicing aren’t allowed to change prices years down the track.
An ACCC spokesperson said a business amending capped-price servicing prices at a later date might be considered a false and misleading representation prohibited under the Australian Consumer Law.
In 2015, the ACCC took action against Kia for allowing scheduled service prices to be increased.
When you buy a car with capped-price servicing included, get a detailed price list for all scheduled services and make a copy of it to have handy should you be asked to fork out anything extra.