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Commentary on Kia Cadenza Complimentary Maintenance Program

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<Excerpted from May 30, 2013:

Jim Henry, Contributor
I cover the pervasive, yet little-understood auto industry.

Starting With The 2014 Kia Cadenza, Kia Joins The Free Maintenance Club

2014 Kia Cadenza

With the 2014 Kia Cadenza model, Kia joins a relatively short list of mostly premium brands that offer some form of free scheduled maintenance.
The all-new Kia Cadenza is the brand’s first luxury sedan. It’s a close cousin to the Hyundai Azera – South Korea’s Hyundai Group controls both Hyundai and Kia – and it’s aimed at competitors like the Toyota Avalon, the Acura TL and the Buick LaCrosse.

Kia today builds generally reliable small, medium and relatively large cars, minivans and crossovers, but it’s still living down a past reputation for building poor-quality small cars. Therefore, Kia added free maintenance for the Cadenza on top of Kia’s standard 10-year, 100,000-mile warranty, to build confidence in the brand.
Sticker price for the Kia Cadenza starts at $35,900 including $800 destination. The company expects most people to order a $3,000 package of luxury options like heated Nappa leather seats, a heated steering wheel and an extra-large panoramic sunroof.

That makes the “popularly equipped” model $38,900 suggested retail. With an additional optional “technology” package that includes features like alloy wheels and radar controlled “smart” cruise control, blind-spot detection and lane-departure warning, it tops out at $41,900.
That’s still cheaper than similarly equipped competitors like the Toyota Avalon or the Acura TL, according to Kia.
However, by historical standards that’s still a lot for a Kia. That’s where the free maintenance comes in. The Kia Cadenza comes with scheduled maintenance at no extra charge for 36 months or 37,500 miles.
That compares favorably with most other “free maintenance” offers. Audi, BMW, Cadillac, Jaguar, Land Rover, Volkswagen and Volvo all offer some form of scheduled maintenance at no extra charge, ranging from a couple of free oil changes to a truly comprehensive offer. Naturally there’s no such thing as a free lunch, so the cost is most likely shared among each automaker and its respective dealers and customers.
Tom Loveless, executive vice president of sales for Kia Motors America, Irvine, Calif., said earlier this month that Kia’s no-charge maintenance offer for now is limited to the Kia Cadenza.
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