GM dealers await clarity
Big discounts on cars to spur heavy sales
US car maker General Motors expects to clear out the 4,000-5,000 cars remaining in stock locally by offering massive discounts of 204,000-500,000 baht via major dealers.
But 87 Thai Chevrolet dealers are still waiting for clarity from GM on after-sale services after the company's exit from the Thai market.
The new retail price tags for three Chevrolet models -- Captiva, Trailblazer and Colorado -- were announced on Wednesday evening by Chevrolet Thailand, GM Thailand's local unit.
The Indonesian-made Captiva was discounted by 500,000 baht to 499,000-699,000 baht, before a 7% value-added tax.
The two locally made models get the discount before tax as well. The Trailblazer costs 895,000 baht, down from 1,144,000 baht previously. The Colorado costs 655,000 and 775,000 baht, with discounts of 204,000 and 223,000 baht, respectively.
Many Thai motorists on Wednesday visited Chevrolet showrooms after the price cut announcement. They have the option to pay cash or make a down payment for a 84-month loan.
Many buyers visited the Chevrolet showroom on Wednesday after the new price announcement of three models. The dealers expects the last stock of 4,000-5,000 cars to be sold out soon. (Photo by Pornprom Satrabhaya)
"The stock of cars is across both dealerships and Chevrolet," the owner of a Chevrolet dealership from northern Thailand told the Bangkok Post. "This is the American way to tackle this situation -- sell all products before leaving the market."
The owner said the attractive prices are likely to make all three models sell out soon, but Chevrolet has not clarified the company's plan to provide after-sale services.
"After the cars in stock are sold out, GM will not produce any more Chevrolet models," the owner said. "But we are ready to join as an authorised service outlet after GM's exit because we have roughly 4,000 customers to look after."
There are close to 300,000 Chevrolet cars registered in Thailand.
"We plan to provide after-sale services for Chevrolet in the next four years," the owner said.
Sakchai Peechapat, president of Tisco Bank, said the bank has a marginal portion of loans financing Chevrolet vehicles. The company has not focused heavily on the car brand in the past five years, since Chevrolet began a partnership with another local bank on auto loans.
"The bank will continue to take care of existing Chevrolet auto loan customers and is not concerned about the asset quality of the car buyers," Mr Sakchai said.
Suwat Techawatanawana, executive chairman of Kasikorn Leasing, said his company will continue to take care of existing customers who bought Chevrolet cars.
Chevrolet car dealers in Thailand will remain in the country to provide services and advice to customers, but Mr Suwat declined to say whether his firm will suspend extensions of new auto loans for new Chevrolet buyers.
Surapong Paisitpatanapong, spokesman for the automotive industry club at the Federation of Thai Industries, said new Chevrolet sales are expected to help monthly local sales for February.
"In the pickup segment, there are many attractive brands that Thai buyers can migrate to," he said. "GM has wound down production in Rayong since laying off roughly 300 workers in September."
Mr Surapong said the club expects GM to soon have clearer direction on support for existing Chevrolet owners, while the new facility owner, Great Wall Motors, may take over providing after-sale services upon starting car production in 2022.