Subaru joins the pack
THE best after-sales back-up in Australia is provided by Ferrari, which throws a seven-year free service package in with every new car it delivers Down Under.
Of course, you’re still going to be spending at least $459,295 for the privilege, even if the keys to a shiny new Ferrari California headline the deal.
There are plenty of cheaper alternatives if you’re after some certainty on the service side, as all but one of the top 10 brands in May have capped-price service plans.
The only holdout is Mercedes-Benz but it has two excuses — it hit the top 10 for the first time last month and it has a range of packages it sells with its cars, starting with a $2499 Silver three-year service deal for the junior models.
The other late starter on the capped-price front is Subaru, which finally succumbed to the competitive pressures — and, most likely, pressure from buyers — to expand its aftersales support.
But, like so many things Subaru has done over the years (as in its early adoption of the ANCAP road safety program) it’s gone a step further. Instead of providing the service safety net for the length of its new-car warranty, which means three years, it’s extending its support for the life of it cars. It’s also backdated its capped-price deal to cars from 2006.
“This program is designed to give customers transparency around scheduled service costs. It means they can make better, informed choices on how they service their Subarus,” says Nick Senior, managing director of Subaru Australia.
“Basically, capped-price servicing sets the maximum price participating Subaru retailers will charge for each standard scheduled service on applicable vehicles.”
Subaru is also introducing a free Health Check and Chat for the first month after a new-car delivery, he says. It will be a check-over and a chance for the owner to get answers from a factory-trained service adviser.
And that’s the really important thing about such deals. No two are exactly the same and it’s important to also look into the fine print and conditions, particularly on service intervals.
Most companies go for 12-monthly service intervals, or 15,000km of driving, but Mazda is like Subaru with a whole-oflife deal and Ford and Kia both have seven-year packages.
Honda, Mazda and Nissan have six-month service intervals.
The prices also vary by brands and service requirements, so you need to total the costs across the whole period of the package.
And there are some that cut short of the really big service work, such as the essential replacement of the timing belt.
Senior reinforces the point as he talks-up the overdue change at Subaru.
“When considering these programs, be sure that you are comparing apples with apples,” he says.
Late starter leads the way: Subaru joins capped-price service crowd