Kia’s class-leading seven-year/unlimited-kilometre warranty and ownership program has stood the brand in good stead against its mainstream rivals for years, and the company’s chiefs admit they’re bewildered that other brands still haven’t caught on.
The seven-year plan is undoubtedly a big part of the company’s success, with Kia Australia marking itself as the only top-10 brand in 2019 to see a sales increase (up 4.6 per cent in an overall market down 7.8 per cent).
And while some smaller competitors have also joined the seven-year warranty club, Kia Australia chief operating officer Damien Meredith told us that he’s surprised none of the other big-name brands have jumped to a longer warranty plan.
While all of the top 10-brands now have at least five years’ warranty cover, Kia has long been toying with the idea of extending its current status to a 10-year plan, as it offers in markets like the US. And Mr Meredith said the Aussie arm of the Korean brand is still looking at that.
“We’ll always look at that, but the reality is - apart from the MG and SsangYong - [the competitors] have used [a seven-year warranty] as a marketing tool, and no-one has actually gone and said, ‘Bang, we’re seven years’.
“Holden have been in and out, Honda were in and out, Mitsubishi were in and out. Hyundai - I forgot about them - even Hyundai have been in and out. I don’t see any value in that,” he said.
“In October 2014, we made that move to a seven-year warranty. It’s been a huge help to the brand, and I’m really surprised that no other [top-10] manufacturer has done it, to be quite honest.
“I thought at the time that we’d probably have three months of clear air with it, but here we are five or six years later and we’re still the only top-10 manufacturer that has seven-year warranty. So it’s been pretty good.”
Kia is looking to increase its market share and its sales once again in 2020, with a target of 65,000 units projected, and that could also see the brand jump to number five overall for new-vehicle sales.
If it were to achieve that result, it would be the only company in such reputable company without any pick-up or ute as part of its range, not to mention any commercial van or hardcore off-road SUV... for now, anyway, as we know there’s a Kia ute coming, and the brand has also recently confirmed its desires to offer a hardcore SUV based on that new dual-cab ute, too.