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Citroen ditches six-year warranty for three-year term

Citroen has traded in its standard-setting six-year/unlimited-kilometre warranty for a three year/100,000km coverage period.

Citroen Australia has discarded the six-year/unlimited-kilometre warranty instituted by previous distributor Sime Darby over three years ago, with its new importer Inchcape verifying the guarantee's length has been reduced to three years/100,000km.

The recently established Peugeot Citroen Australia (PCA) has reverted to this factory-backed coverage period for both brands but has not detailed the impact of the reduced warranty on the value proposition of the C3, C4 Cactus and Grand Picasso model line-up.

Owners of vehicles purchased with the supplanted six-year term will have the balance of their guarantee covered by Inchcape, given Automobiles Citroen in France is responsible for the first three years or 100,000km.

“The Citroen six-year warranty was a marketing activation implemented by Sime Darby which is no longer valid,” PCA corporate communications and events manager Jemma White said.

“Currently, the warranty for Citroen is three years with an option to buy an extended warranty from the dealer.”

Ms White added the extended warranty is now available nationwide from all Citroen dealerships, while pricing is varied.

When questioned if Inchcape could return to a six-year/unlimited-kilometre term, considering it was known to be offered on Citroen models, Ms White replied: “Warranty is constantly being reviewed internally.”

Following the launch of the preceding coverage deal on July 14, 2014 – France’s Bastille Day – Sime Darby said the extended warranty, paired with roadside assistance for the whole period, was “a statement of our commitment to Australia”.

“It could not have happened without the support of PSA and the entire Citroen team both here and in Paris, and it could not have happened on a better day than Bastille,” Citroen Australia national marketing manager Manuel Tyras – now Kia Motors Australia (KMAu) general manager of marketing – said in a statement marking the occasion.

When it was introduced, the six-year Citroen warranty was the longest of any carmaker in Australia, but that was soon trumped by KMAu and its seven-year/unlimited-kilometre coverage period.

KMAu chief operating officer Damien Meredith said the boosted term was a key reason for the South Korean marque's growth Down Under.

Similarly, Holden has since offered a seven-year/175,000km warranty across its range, but this promotion ends on December 31.

Ms White chose not to comment on whether the shorter term would impact local Citroen sales negatively, as Sime Darby said the longer coverage – which did not extend to the Berlingo van or any Peugeot model – was an attempt to address consumer concern regarding the long-term reliability and quality of vehicles from the French manufacturer.

Despite launching the new C3 small hatch this month from $22,990 before on-road costs, PCA has not sharpened the value proposition of its C4 Cactus compact SUV since the Inchcape takeover, with it still priced from $26,990 when paired to a five-speed manual gearbox.

Following the removal of the five-seat C4 Picasso ($40,990) from the model range, the seven-seat Grand C4 Picasso ($39,450) has hit local showrooms, with the same 1.6-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine.

Meanwhile, the facelifted Grand C4 Picasso with a 2.0-litre turbo-diesel four-cylinder carries on, increasing in cost by $410, to $45,600, but now featuring blind-spot monitoring, adaptive cruise control and auto emergency braking (AEB) as standard, all of which were previously optional.

Total Citroen sales have dipped 33.7 per cent year-on-year, to 536 units, to the end of October, but since Inchcape distributorship began, sales have started to climb steadily.

Citroen will launch the C3 Aircross compact SUV early next year, followed by a light-commercial vehicle roll-out that is likely to include the Dispatch van.

Does stepping back to a three-year warranty help or harm the Citroen brand? Tell us what you think in the comments below.

Justin Hilliard
Head of Editorial
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