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Mazda announces capped-price servicing

Surety: The new Mazda3 will get capped-price servicing from launch on February 1, with other Mazdas to follow in the ensuing months.

Lifetime capped-price servicing plan for all Mazda models being rolled out

Mazda logo20 Jan 2014

By MIKE COSTELLO

MAZDA is joining a growing crowd of big-volume car-makers to introduce a capped-price servicing plan in Australia.

The plan locks all of its dealers into a uniform service price at each interval, giving buyers piece-of-mind that they know exactly what they’ll pay for each check-up.

While the Japanese brand is late to the proverbial party, it has arrived with a bang. Its Mazda Service Select scheme covers the entire life of the vehicle, unlike rival plans that generally last between three and seven years.

The introduction also leaves Subaru as the sole top-ten sales brand in Australia without a capped-price scheme (except for its BRZ sportscar, which has three-years/60,000km of cover). Subaru spokesman Dave Rowley said the company continued to evaluate such a scheme, but had no firm plans.

Mazda’s plan will be rolled out from February 1, coinciding with the release of the new-generation 3 sedan and hatch. The rest of Mazda’s range, from the baby 2 through to the BT-50 ute, will progressively get coverage by June.

The plan is retroactive, meaning existing owners qualify, and it also transfers to the new owner when a car is sold on the used market.

Full cost figures are yet to be revealed, but the company says each service on a new-generation 3 base variant will cost either $286 or $313 (the figures alternate every 10,000km). Once the 10th service is reached, the plan rolls over back to the first figure again, in perpetuity.

This will make the new 3 the second-cheapest car in its segment to own and run (including fuel costs) over a four-year period, says Mazda. With average annual mileage of 13,000km, a service every nine months and factoring in the price of fuel, Mazda says the 3 will cost $5971 over this period, with only the Hyundai i30 ($5325) undercutting it.

The second part of the new Mazda Service Select plan is a functional extension of the current six-month or 10,000km (whichever comes first) service interval. The 10,000km figure remains, but the time between services has been stretched out to 12-months (again, whichever comes first).

This means that low-mileage drivers who cover only 10,000km of distance each year now only have to shell out for one annual service rather than two. Mazda figure indicate that buyers generally have their car serviced every 7-10 months, and cover fewer than 15,000 km per year.

GoAuto understands that a big factor behind Mazda’s belated push into the capped-price servicing arena has been its potential to improve the strained service capacities of many of its dealers. Mazda volume has grown to 100,000 annually at a rapid clip, and the longer intervals will help its jam-packed keep pace with all the additional Mazda cars on the road in need of regular servicing.

The new plan also gives Mazda an extra feather in its cap when luring buyers away from key rivals, although the company insists servicing costs remain a low priority at purchase time to its (mostly private-owner) buyership.

Having a capped-price plan will, finally, allow its network to retain service clients and not lose the to independent service centres such as Ultra Tune, and will doubtless help its already strong resale figures down the line.

“Mazda is committed to ensuring customers have a safe and enjoyable driving experience irrespective of what distance they travel and Mazda Service Select matches a service program to individual owners based on their driving habits rather than the ‘one size fits all’ approach adopted by some other brands,” said Mazda Australia managing director Martin Benders.

“Mazda Service Select means our customers are not locked into a schedule that may not reflect their driving habits. Over time the average number of kilometres travelled by our customers has dropped from 15,000km five years ago to 13,000km today.

“That means a typical Mazda customer will only have to service their car every nine months or so, meaning just four rather than six trips to their dealer over three years.

“Mazda Service Select maintains the 10,000km service interval as the vast majority of our customers are private buyers. They have told us and continue to tell us that they think the 10,000km interval provides a regular safety and tech check of their vehicle, ensuring both its longevity and stronger resale value.”

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