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Jeep eyes five-year warranty

New direction: The Compass mid-sizer is part of a wider model onslaught that includes new versions of the Wrangler and Cherokee.

A decision on five-year warranty for Jeep will be made in the next 12 months

23 Nov 2016


JEEP is expected to increase its new-vehicle warranty from three to five years sometime in the next 12 months, as the embattled brand steps up its drive to improve customer satisfaction and trust.

“I’m hopeful, if it makes sense and it’s something that we decide to pursue, that maybe we will make a decision sometime next year,” according to Steve Zanlunghi, president and CEO of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles Australia.

Extending the warranty will be one of several messages that Jeep wants to convey to assure buyers and owners that the company is working to reverse a slide in customer satisfaction reputation as well as sales, which are down more than 50 per cent year on year.

A new-model onslaught is imminent, from the all-new Compass medium SUV due in the fourth quarter of next year, to the next-generation iterations of its established Wrangler and Cherokee SUVs.

“We are looking at all the different opportunities we have to really build the brand back,” Mr Zanlunghi told Australian journalists at the Los Angeles motor show last week.

“We’re looking at warranty, customer perception obviously, consideration, cost of ownership… we’re looking at ways at how we can implement into this strategy correctly and to have sustained growth, not a flash in the pan.

 center imageLeft: FCA Australia president and CEO Steve Zanlunghi.

“We have lost significant volume and there are a number of reasons for that.

But for me Australia remains one of our key markets around the world, and I’m convinced not just with our product portfolio with everything we’re trying to do, we are going to regain our position and hopefully grow, but there’s no doubt it’s a tough market for us at the moment.”

One of Jeep’s more untapped opportunities lies with fleet sales – an area that Mr Zanlunghi is very well versed in his last post before arriving in Australia in August was as head of Jeep Brand for Europe, Middle East and Africa, as well as looking after the UK and Irish markets.

“I think one of the areas that we can expand on in Australia is the fleet segment,” he said. “Right now we’re playing mostly in retail only, so I think there’s opportunity there.

“But in order to be competitive, and I learned this in the UK, because in the UK 53 per cent of the market is fleet, so it held more weight than retail. So in order to be competitive there, you have to have good cost of ownership, and there are certain things you can do there to reduce your cost of ownership, and we’re looking at a whole host of things.”

Backing up Mr Zanlunghi’s comments was global head of the Jeep brand, Mike Manley, adding that it should only be a matter of time before the public catch on to the hard work Jeep has already put in to improve the customer service experience in Australia.

“Perception is lagging behind reality,” he believes. “I can tell you that Steve is already in discussions with me about five-year warranty. And not necessarily because of the struggles that we’ve got… but I also think that genuinely, our brand, our vehicles, with all the right building blocks and all of the things that we do around our brand, well, they deserve to be more successful, and we’re determined to make that happen.”

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