Consumer groups warn Chevrolet buyers of risks

Consumer groups warn Chevrolet buyers of risks

A prospective buyer tries a Captiva SUV at a GM showroom in Ratchathewi district in Bangkok on Wednesday as GM Thailand started a campaign to clear its stock. (Photo by Pornprom Satrabhaya)
A prospective buyer tries a Captiva SUV at a GM showroom in Ratchathewi district in Bangkok on Wednesday as GM Thailand started a campaign to clear its stock. (Photo by Pornprom Satrabhaya)

Consumer advocacy groups have reminded prospective buyers of risks of buying Chevrolet cars after the US manufacturer announced its decision to pull out of Thailand.

The Foundation for Consumers and Office of the Independent Committee for Consumer Protection on Thursday said buyers should be wary of uncertainty as General Motors will pull its operation out of the country by the end of this year.

"Consumers risk being stranded with no after-sales services such as maintenance, spare parts supply and the quality guarantee of the product. They could face problems since the operator has announced the decision to end the production, distribution and all businesses in the country," said Paiboon Chuangthong, chairman of the Office of the Independent Committee for Consumer Protection.

The warning followed GM Thailand's campaign that gives an almost 50% discount as the carmaker wants to clear 5,000 vehicles in its stock before the closure.

Buyers rush to GM showrooms on Monday to snap up cars, especially the flagship Captiva SUV that sold like hot cakes.

The two consumer groups called on GM Thailand to continue after-sales services for at least four years to show its responsibility for the products sold to consumers.

Thailand has 300,000 Chevrolet cars registered in the country, with Captiva being the most popular model.

GM Thailand posted a message on its Facebook account saying its services would continue as usual for the time being, without specifying when they would scrap them.

Chevrolet Thailand, which is GM Thailand's local unit, also confirmed its after-sales services.

“GM will cease sales of Chevrolet vehicles in Thailand’s new car market by the end of 2020, but will continue to support existing Chevrolet customers for ongoing after-sales services, warranty and repair work through a national network of authorised service outlets," it said.

"GM will retain a dedicated after-sales and customer assistance team in Thailand to continue supporting customers through the four pillars of certified service and spare parts, vehicle warranty and 24-hour roadside assistance," it added.

In addition to consumers, owners and used-car dealers who have the brand in stock are worried about their future.

Pichit Phra-amphorn, who owns a Chevrolet pickup truck, said he suddenly started worrying about the availability of spare parts and other maintenances. "I think I will have to pay more for them," he said, adding he would not sell his vehicle due to its quality.

Suwit Thongmaeng, a mechanic in Chai Nat's Muang district, said Chevy owners should not overreact as independent factories could produce spare parts of the cars after the GM departure.

"It's the nature of the spare parts industry. Where there's demand, factories will produce parts to supply the market," he said.

Used-car dealers were also fretting about the brand in their stock as lenders will unlikely lend buyers when the manufacturer ceases the operation.

Boonthanom Phisoot, the president of the used-car dealers in Chiang Mai, urged the government to help Chevrolet owners to boost confidence for buyers.

Some second-hand car dealers will be indebted if they have stocked Chevrolet cars, he said.

Ekkawat Promviharn, a dealer for used cars in Chai Nat, said he planned to sell Chevrolet at cost or to offer credit to buyers.


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