Our neighbours across the Causeway can now send their vehicles to independent service centres without voiding the warranty, as major car dealers in Singapore have agreed to remove restrictions on vehicle warranties and related documents, according to the Competition Commission of Singapore (CCS).

Following the conclusion of its study into the supplies of car parts in Singapore, the CCS said it was concerned about dealers requiring customers to have their vehicles serviced or repaired at the vehicles’ respective authorised centres in order to have their warranty remain unaffected.

“To address this, CCS has raised its concerns with the major car dealers and have worked with them to remove the warranty restrictions from their car warranties and related documents,” the commission said, adding that said dealers have agreed to make relevant changes to warranty terms by the CCS. All agreed changes to the warranty terms for existing and new warranties will be implemented by December 31.

Such restrictions deter vehicle owners from using independent workshops, and thus limit the latter’s ability to compete with the brands’ official franchise service centres. With the changes to restrictions put in place, car dealers will then be allowed to void warranties or claims only if the damage caused has been found to be caused by the work of independent workshops.

Information from car dealers in the city-state suggests that the proportion of customers who service their vehicles at authorised centres sees a considerable decline once the warranty expires. Authorised workshop patronage goes as high as 90% for the first few years of the vehicles’ lifespans, however this drops to around 40% for older cars, CCS said.

Market feedback also found that authorised centres charge up to two to three times the price of independent workshops for parts and labour, the competition commission added. “The removal of the warranty restrictions will facilitate a more competitive market for car repairs and servicing, with more choices for car owners, and opportunities for existing and new independent workshops,” CCS said.

The marques and distributors which CCS approached and obtained cooperation from include Alpine Motors Pte. Ltd. (Chevrolet), Borneo Motors (Singapore) Pte. Ltd. (Toyota and Lexus), Cycle & Carriage Industries Pte. Ltd. (Citroen, Kia, Mercedes Benz and Mitsubishi), Eurokars Group of Companies (Porsche, Mazda and MINI), Kah Motor Co. Sdn. Bhd. (Honda), Komoco Motors Pte. Ltd. (Hyundai), Motor Image Enterprises Pte. Ltd. (Subaru), Performance Motors Ltd. (BMW), and Tan Chong Motor Sales Pte. Ltd. (Nissan).

Meanwhile, CCS understands from Volkswagen Group Singapore Pte. Ltd. (Volkswagen) and Premium Automobiles Pte. Ltd. (Audi) that there are no such restrictions in the warranties. The brands distributed by the aforementioned dealers make up more than 90% of cars sold in Singapore last year, the competition commission said.

What do you think, dear readers? Should a similar arrangement be adopted in Malaysia? Will it work?