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Exclusive: Citroen abandons six-year warranty

See three: Citroen’s C3 hatchback returns to the Australian market this month in third-generation guise, but it does not carry the six-year/unlimited-kilometre warranty it had when sold here previously under a different distributor.

Reduced value for Citroen customers as three-year warranty returns under Inchcape

Citroen logo21 Nov 2017

CITROEN Australia has abandoned the six-year/unlimited-kilometre warranty introduced by former importer Sime Darby less than three years ago, with new distributor Inchcape confirming the coverage period has been halved.

The recently formed Peugeot Citroen Australia (PCA) has returned to a factory-backed three-year/100,000km warranty for both brands, but has not specified how much the switch to more basic coverage has wiped off the perceived customer value of the C3, C4 Cactus and Grand Picasso passenger car range.

For owners of vehicles purchased under the previous six-year warranty deal, Inchcape will cover the balance of the term after Automobiles Citroen in France covers 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“The Citroen six-year warranty was a marketing activation implemented by Sime Darby which is no longer valid,” PCA corporate communications and events manager Jemma White told GoAuto this week.

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

Ms White said that extended warranty coverage would now be available from each dealership nationwide, and prices would vary.

Asked whether Inchcape would consider returning to a six-year/unlimited-kilometre warranty, given that it was widely reported as being offered on Citroens, Ms White replied: “Warranty is constantly being reviewed internally.”

At the introduction of the previous warranty deal on July 14, 2014 – France’s Bastille Day – Sime Darby described the extended coverage, teamed with roadside assistance for the entire period, as “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’s national marketing manager Manuel Tyras (now Kia’s general manager of marketing) said in a statement at the time.

At its introduction, Citroen boasted the longest new-car warranty of any vehicle manufacturer in the country, however that feat was soon eclipsed by Kia Motors Australia (KMAu) with its seven-year/unlimited-kilometre coverage.

KMAu chief operating officer Damien Meredith described the warranty boost as one of the major growth drivers of the South Korean brand.

Rival Holden has since added a seven-year/175,000km warranty across its range, but as a promotion for a limited period.

On its entry Spark micro hatchback, the company usually charges $2155 for an additional three years or 175,000km of coverage above its three-year/100,000km warranty, totalling six years or 275,000km – or the closest to Citroen’s six-year/unlimited-kilometre coverage.

Ms White declined to comment whether the reduced warranty would have a negative effect on Citroen sales, given that Sime Darby cited that the coverage increase – which did not include Berlingo or any Peugeot model – was partially introduced to ease any uncertainty among consumers about the long-term quality and reliability of the products produced by the French car-maker.

While the new C3 will also launch this month at $22,990 plus on-road costs, compared with introduction under Sime Darby distributorship PCA has not improved the value equation of its C4 Cactus, which continues to be priced from $26,990 plus on-roads in five-speed manual transmission form.

With the deletion of the $40,990 five-seat C4 Picasso from the range, however, a seven-seat Grand C4 Picasso has been introduced with the same 1.6-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine, priced from $39,450.

Meanwhile, the existing – but also facelifted – 2.0-litre turbo-diesel four-cylinder Grand C4 Picasso has increased by $410 to $45,600 but includes previously optional safety equipment now as standard, including a blind-spot monitor, active cruise control and autonomous emergency braking (AEB).

According to VFACTS October, Citroen sales have sunk 33.7 per cent year-to-date to 536 units. Since Inchcape assumed distributorship from Sime Darby, however, sales have climbed back comparing 2016 to 2017 monthly figures, from August (35 versus 82), to September (57 plays 24) and October (50 versus 48).

Citroen will now launch the C3 Aircross small SUV in early 2018, followed by a core light-commercial vehicle strategy likely to include the Dispatch.

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