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BYD’s Significant EV Price Cuts in Thailand Ignite Controversy; Prime Minister Demands Clarification

ByYasmeeta Oon

Jul 8, 2024

BYD’s Significant EV Price Cuts in Thailand Ignite Controversy; Prime Minister Demands Clarification

Thailand’s consumer protection agency has launched an investigation into BYD dealerships following numerous complaints from consumers about aggressive discounting tactics that have left many buyers feeling they overpaid for their electric vehicles (EVs).

Since initiating the probe, the consumer protection agency has received approximately 70 complaints. The investigation was spurred by an incident where a BYD sales representative allegedly told a customer that the car price would increase once a discounting campaign ended, only for the dealership to further reduce prices afterward. This has caused frustration and dissatisfaction among early buyers who now feel they were misled.

The Prime Minister of Thailand, Srettha Thavisin, addressed the issue directly with BYD’s chief executive, Wang Chuanfu, during his visit to Thailand to inaugurate BYD’s first Southeast Asian factory. The Prime Minister emphasized the importance of managing customer expectations about pricing and ensuring that local buyers are adequately protected.

  • Prime Minister’s direct involvement in addressing the issue with BYD’s CEO
  • Assurances given by BYD for appropriate future pricing and support for affected customers
  • Non-responsiveness of BYD officials and their sole distributor, Rever Automotive, to media inquiries

Social media platforms have been buzzing with discontented BYD owners sharing their grievances. One particular owner expressed his disappointment on Facebook, highlighting that the BYD Atto 3 car he purchased for 1.19 million baht (approximately RM153,192) is now being sold for just 859,000 baht. Another owner went as far as to post a video of himself writing disparaging remarks about BYD on his car’s hood, vowing never to buy the brand again.

  • Disappointment and anger expressed on social media
  • Declarations of never buying BYD cars again
  • Specific examples of financial loss due to price cuts

Thailand is a crucial market for BYD, being its largest market outside China and a key part of its global expansion strategy, especially after the European Union imposed 17.4% tariffs on the automaker. According to research firm Counterpoint, BYD held a 46% share of Thailand’s EV market in the first quarter and is the third-largest player in the passenger car segment.

Market Share in Thailand46% (first quarter)
Ranking in Passenger CarsThird-largest
Tariffs Imposed by the EU17.4%

Passakorn Thapmongkol, a senior official at Thailand’s Consumer Protection Board, confirmed that the agency had met with Rever officials and requested documents related to the discounting scheme. Thapmongkol mentioned that more customers are gradually coming forward to file complaints, indicating a growing unrest among the consumer base.

BYD and Rever Automotive, which manages a network of over 100 dealerships in Thailand, have yet to publicly respond to the situation. This silence has added to the frustration of affected customers who are seeking clarity and compensation.

  • Consumer Protection Board’s meeting with Rever officials
  • Request for documentation related to the discounting scheme
  • Continued influx of complaints from customers

In his meeting with Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin, Wang Chuanfu assured that future pricing strategies would be handled more appropriately and that affected customers would receive support. This assurance aims to restore consumer confidence and mitigate the backlash caused by the aggressive discounting practices.

BYD’s strategic importance in the Thai market cannot be overstated. The company’s commitment to addressing these issues effectively will be crucial in maintaining its market position and supporting its broader expansion goals.

  • Future pricing strategies will be more appropriate
  • Support for affected customers promised by BYD CEO
  • Emphasis on restoring consumer confidence

The situation underscores the importance of transparency and consistency in pricing strategies, particularly for a major player like BYD in a key market like Thailand. The company’s response to the ongoing investigation and consumer complaints will be pivotal in shaping its reputation and future success in the region.

As the investigation by Thailand’s consumer protection agency continues, the industry will be watching closely to see how BYD and its dealerships navigate this challenging period. The outcome could set a precedent for how aggressive discounting practices are handled in the automotive sector, particularly in the rapidly growing EV market.

Additional Information

BYD’s Market Position in Thailand
  • Thailand: Largest market outside China for BYD
  • Global Expansion: Key to BYD’s growth strategy
  • EU Tariffs: 17.4% tariffs imposed, influencing BYD’s focus on other markets
Consumer Sentiment
  • Social Media: Platform for expressing dissatisfaction
  • Financial Impact: Significant price drops affecting early buyers
  • Brand Loyalty: Negative impact on future purchasing decisions
Important Takeaways
  • Aggressive discounting has led to consumer dissatisfaction and complaints.
  • The Thai government is actively involved in addressing the issue.
  • BYD’s market strategy and consumer protection measures will be critical moving forward.

This situation serves as a critical reminder for companies about the importance of maintaining consumer trust through transparent and fair business practices, especially in competitive and rapidly evolving markets like electric vehicles.

Featured Image courtesy of The Japan Times

Yasmeeta Oon

Just a girl trying to break into the world of journalism, constantly on the hunt for the next big story to share.

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