Chery Australia marketing director, James Curtis, said launching with warranty cover that just matches the current benchmark would essentially be short-selling the brand’s aspirations for its Australian arrival.
That means rivals such as Kia, SsangYong, MG and GWM will have their standard-setting seven-year warranty plans put on notice with the arrival of Chery, according to Mr Curtis, who also acknowledged Mitsubishi’s conditional 10-year warranty plan – which requires owners to service their vehicles with the brand in order to be eligible for that lengthy coverage.
“I can’t give you the specific number [of years of coverage or mileage warranty] – you know where the market is at. We’re not going to be worse than the market. Without a doubt,” said Mr Curtis.
“Warranty is really important in the consumer’s mind, so warranty for us will be at the competition level, if not better. We’re aiming to be best in the market, that’s where we’re benchmarking against,” he said.
“It has to be at least seven [years] – you look at the competitors, it has to be at least seven.
“We’re always looking at the market. If it changes tomorrow, we’ll change the number. It just depends on what it is. For us, warranty is a hallmark of the quality of our vehicles. It’s not an insurance policy.
“We’re very mindful … that our vehicles are dependable and can last that long. With a number of seven plus, we’re really confident that we’re in the ballpark,” he said.
Mr Curtis further said that servicing cannot be overlooked as a vital decision point for some buyers. He called out both the affordability of ownership, but also the convenience and the professionalism with which an owner is treated, as being notable markers for a quality ownership experience.
“Servicing is a really important part of car ownership, and servicing is also a really important part of the retailer atmosphere. It’s a touchpoint for the customer, so we’ve got to make sure we get the right service intervals, we’ve got to make sure we’ve got enough parts in stock to be able to service,” he said.
Mr Curtis, who has a background in logistics and has worked at brands including Toyota, Lexus and Kia, said he wanted to make sure owners would not be left stranded if their car needed repair.
“We’ve got over 580 part lines on order, meaning we can effectively service a car parc of about two to three months from launch, with more parts on the way,” he said, and the company then confirmed the first shipment of parts arrives by the end of January – before the first arrival of the brand’s launch vehicle, the Omoda 5 SUV, which will hit shortly after.
“Where other manufacturers may have parts shortage issues, I don’t expect that to be the case for us. We’re planning to make sure it’s not the case for us,” he said.
It is understood that the brand is canvassing more than 60 dealer locations for its presence across the country at launch.
The Chery Omoda 5 is expected to be offered to media for first drive impressions in the coming weeks. Stay tuned for more.