New model launches must prepare against warranty claims

  • Historical new car warranty costs at highest during the 12 months after launch
  • Pressure on cost-down in manufacturing can be at odds with maintaining quality
  • Manufacturers can protect themselves by addressing quality issues at source

Vehicle manufacturers must protect themselves from warranty claims during new car launch periods by driving back quality issues into the supply chain, according to the latest advice being issued today.

Indeed, historical warranty claims are generally at their highest during the 12 months after the launch of a new model compared with any other time during the life cycle of the vehicle.

The insight from Geoff Cousins, chairman at quality management provider G&P and former managing director at Jaguar UK, also highlights how the shape of warranty claims is changing due to ever more sophisticated in-car technology, switching away from mechanical defaults to software coding issues.

Geoff said: “During the busy launch period of a new car, maintaining quality can come under pressure with the need to get the new car to market in volume.

“However, addressing quality issues at source will reduce warranty costs as any build issues will be detected at the initial stage meaning less chance of breakdown or faults following launch.”

Adding to the equation is the changing nature of warranty claims as new technology introduces more software coding with the potential to corrupt and slow or stop a part or function from working, such as sat navs, communication devices and driver aids.

Meanwhile, not only is there a financial cost of warranty claims to manufacturers, which can run into the hundreds of millions of pounds, but there is also the reputational damage associated with faulty products, including damage caused to global brands.

Geoff added: “Quality, not least from a safety critical viewpoint, must not be compromised in the pursuit of sales.

“It also makes financial sense to address quality issues at source in the supply chain rather than rework in the production process and risk associated warranty claims after launch.”

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