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Renault attacks quality issues

That’s better: Renault’s Megane has been the pioneer of much-improved build quality for Renault over the past six years.

Warranty claim costs slashed 68 per cent on Renault cars in six years, says importer

24 Jul 2014

RENAULT’S 52 per cent surge in sales in Australia this year can be at least partly attributed to a massive improvement in Renault vehicle quality in recent years, according to the French company’s Australian branch.

Unveiling its refreshed Megane small hatch and wagon range this week, Renault Australia revealed that its average warranty claim cost had improved 68 per cent in the past six years.

It said its global figures showed that its Spanish-built third-generation Megane had led the way, with a 40 per cent lift in first-year reliability over the previous model.

Renault Australia managing director Justin Hocevar said Renault had engaged in a concerted effort to lift its build quality at all its factories where the mantra had become “getting quality right the first time”.

“(The current) Megane was considered a benchmark and a turning point in the group for improving quality of our vehicles,” he said.

The improvement in Renault build quality coincided with its alliance with Japanese partner Nissan under CEO Carlos Ghosn, who made it a hot priority under a policy dubbed “The Renault Production Way”.

Renault Australia reinforced the quality improvement in customers’ minds by becoming the first European manufacturer to introduce a five-year, unlimited kilometre warranty on most models in its passenger car range.

 center imageLeft: Renault Australia managing director Justin Hocevar.

Mr Hocevar announced this week that the five-year warranty would now cover all passenger car models, including powerful Renault Sport Clio and Megane RS and GT variants that previously had a three-year cover.

However, the Renault commercial van range will retain its three-year, 200,000km warranty.

Motor companies rarely talk publicly about warranty claim rates, which are usually tightly held secrets within each company’s parts and service departments.

And while Renault Australia did not spell out details of its current warranty costs, it says they are now among the lowest in the industry.

The company was also at pains to point out that its parts and service costs to its customers are lower than most of its rivals, contrary to the perception of many would-be buyers.

It gave figures that showed that a parcel of the 40 most commonly used service and repair parts for Megane would cost $12,906, which was about $4000 cheaper than a similar batch for Toyota’s top-selling Corolla.

As well, the parts fulfilment rate – when parts are delivered from the warehouse at the first attempt – is 96 per cent, which is among the best in the industry.

Under Renault’s capped price service plan that sets the service price at $299 for each service in the first three years, a Renault Megane buyer faces an $897 bill for the three years, which again puts it below many of its competitors.

Mr Hocevar said Renault had sold 50,000 vehicles since the brand’s return to Australia in the joint venture with Nissan in 2001.

So far this year, Renault has sold 4380 vehicles, representing a 52.5 per cent rise over the same period of 2013.

In June, the French marque topped 1000 units in monthly sales in Australia for the first time, although it expects that to fall away in line with the rest of the industry over the next few months.

Mr Hocevar said he was still hoping to sell 9000 vehicles this year, compared with 7016 last year.

“And if we get any better than that (9000), I will be delighted,” he said.

Renault’s van range, led by the new Trafic, is leading the sales charge for the brand, with the range collectively up 70 per cent this year.

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