Renault Australia says it has successfully dispelled the myth that French cars are nightmarish to own thanks to a concerted effort to improve its warranties, parts availability and car servicing costs.
As the Australian arm of the French automaker begins what it says is the “next phase” of its brand resurgence effort, local Managing Director Justin Hocevar said current and prospective Renault owners now have the level of after-sales support they deserve.
“One of the biggest challenges that Renault has, has been providing real-world reassurance to our customers,” said Hocevar at last week’s launch of the fourth-generation Megane hatch.
Instrumental to Renault’s efforts to provide post-purchase peace of mind has been an increase in warranty periods, the provision of complimentary roadside assistance as well as competitive finance packages.
“Over the last six years, we have provided leadership in the mainstream market with things like zero-percent finance, a five-year unlimited kilometre warranty and five years of roadside assistance for passenger cars,” Hocevar said.
Renault’s commercial products are covered by a different warranty programme, which lasts for three years or 200,000km. While Renault’s passenger car warranty is impressive, it’s eclipsed by those of Kia and Peugeot, which last for seven and six years respectively.
“We believe taking active steps to drive down the total cost of ownership as well as driving up the level of service and ownership satisfaction for Renault customers enhances our brand loyalty,” he said.
When it comes to servicing costs, Hocevar also said its genuine spare parts either were cheapest among its rivals, or at the very least, cheaper than average.
“We recently surveyed the cost of a basket of common replacement parts of the all-new Renault Megane and its competitors,” he said.
“We did this not only to see where we stood competitively, but also whether we were delivering real value. In many of the categories we were the best performer, but in all of the categories we were better than the average.”
Delays in getting spare parts to workshops had also been cut, with Renault able to rely on alliance partner Nissan’s national parts distribution network to expedite shipping of replacement components.
And gaps between scheduled services have also grown, further reducing the cost of ownership. For the just-launched Megane hatch, service distance intervals can be as big as 30,000km – double what many rival manufacturers stipulate. Time intervals are a par-for-the-industry 12 months.
Furthermore, Renault caps the cost of the first three scheduled services at just $299, meaning new owners can budget just $897 for logbook servicing for the first 90,000km of their car’s life – though that excludes items like tyres, brake pads and wiper blades.
For the darling of the small car segment, the Corolla, Toyota Australia asks for $140 per six-month/10,000km service. That adds up to $840 over three years (just $57 less than the Megane) or $1260 over 90,000km ($363 more than the Megane).
Meanwhile, the Megane’s Korean rival the Kia Cerato costs $985 in scheduled servicing over three years and a whopping $2389 over 90,000km. From an after-sales point of view, it looks like buying French might actually be the most sensible option of all.