Will Jeep move to a five-year warranty on its 2017-year range in New Zealand? Jeep Australia has, under an improved ‘Jeep There and Back’ warranty and service package.
It was launched by the new boss of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles Australia, Steve Zanlunghi. Now FCA New Zealand chief David Smitherman is boning up on the deal with Zanlunghi.
“We are currently reviewing the programme for New Zealand,” said Smitherman. “We are meeting with FCA Australia to understand the programme and we will make our plans from there.”
While Jeep sales in New Zealand have remained reasonably strong (more than 1500 in 2016), those in Australia have plummeted, down more than 50 per cent in the first half of last year.
In a bid to revitalise sales, all new 2017 Jeep models sold across the Tasman will be offered with a transferable five-year warranty, lifetime roadside assistance and capped-price servicing schedule as standard.
The lifetime deal has a catch: it only applies if servicing of the vehicle continues with a Jeep dealership beyond the five-year warranty.
There is another aspect seen as a catch: despite the five-year warranty, the maximum distance allowed under it remains 100,000km.
While most Australian motorists average around 15,000km a year, say motoring bodies, there are many in the vast country who go beyond that average and could therefore exceed the maximum 100,000km inside five years.
Jeep has also extended servicing schedules for 2017 Australian models. Petrol vehicles go from six-months/10,000km to 12 months/15,000km; diesels to 12 months/20,000km.
Zanlunghi told Australian motoring sites that a lot of research went into shaping the ‘There and Back’ guarantee, begun in 2015 by his predecessor Pat Dougherty, who resigned last August in the wake of sliding sales.
“We started by running focus groups in all key Australian markets with current owners, intenders and non-intenders,” he said.
“We then analysed that feedback and formed the basis of the programme. After that, we took it to our dealer council and took their feedback on board as well.
“The team and I have been waiting a long time to launch this campaign and we are thrilled the day has come.”
Zanlunghi conceded late last year that Jeep had an image problem in Australia. “From the global markets I’ve experienced and worked with, Jeep does have a unique perception issue (in Australia).
“We have a significant amount of work over the past couple of years both locally and abroad. Perception does, however, lag realisty and we don’t expect a turnaround in business overnight.
“We’ve introduced the Jeep ‘There and Back’ guarantee to give Australians another reason to trust us and, yes, to highlight that we back our product and, more importantly, back our customers.”