Car owners to sue GM over exit

Car owners to sue GM over exit

At least 100 Chevrolet owners are taking General Motors (GM) to court, accusing the carmaker of violating their vehicle-purchase agreements.

The move comes after General Motors on Feb 17 announced it was ceasing its Thai operations and selling its Rayong plants. General Motors (GM) Thailand insists that its exit measures comply with local regulations and that owners can still have their Chevrolet cars serviced at any of the 87 centres nationwide even after the automaker leaves Thailand.

The decision to take legal action was agreed on Tuesday at a meeting between the car buyers and consumer rights advocacy groups, said a source. The owners have vowed to give back their cars to GM.

Phirawat Setthaphanit, one of the disgruntled Chevrolet owners, said after-sales service was always a big factor in his decision to buy a car, while GM's publicity messages had given the impression the company would remain for the long term in Thailand.

But only three months after he bought a new car from GM, it suddenly called a halt to Thai operations -- a decision which must have been made long before the official announcement, he said.

"That's not something that could be decided on abruptly. So it was totally unfair for the company to keep urging customers to buy its cars [while knowing its Thai operations were about to cease]," he said.

He wasn't convinced by GM's belated assurances that customers could continue having their cars serviced at the existing centres.

On-uma Khunrakphrom, a fellow Chevrolet owner, said she and other owners were uniting for a legal battle that would set new norms for consumer rights protection in Thailand.

"We won't bow to any attempt by any transnational company to treat us unfairly and without a proper code of ethics," she said.

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