Kriangkrai Nakhawaree, a lawyer representing the car owners, said his clients want the company to buy back the defective cars at full price and pay them a combined total of B24.7 million in compensation for having sold them sub-standard vehicles.
About 50 of the car owners went to the South Bangkok Civil Court yesterday to submit the lawsuit. The three other companies named in the suit are Ford Sales & Service (Thailand) Co, Ford Operations (Thailand) Co, and Ford Services (Thailand) Co.
The Ford customers said all the firms are responsible for the alleged defects, which they said affected vehicle safety.
The court accepted the suit and scheduled the first hearing for July 3.
One of the plaintiffs, Korbsak Numnoi, said he and the other owners decided to bring the class action after the cars developed problems, including engine fires, a defective transmission system, and the engine generally overheating.
Other problems included rapid deterioration and breakages of components such as the steering wheel, fan belt, shock absorbers, and doors Mr Korbsak added.
Over the past three years, they have tried in vain to obtain help from state agencies and decided to take the case to court after the company repeatedly turned down requests for talks on their grievances, Mr Korsak said.
The class action suit might be a faster way of getting compensation, he added.
Narong Sritalayon, Managing Director of Ford Motor Company (Thailand), said the company would buy back cars only if the Office of the Consumer Protection Board orders it to do so.
He said the plaintiffs’ demand to buy back the cars at 80% of the full price or more was unreasonable.
Thirty-four of the allegedly defective cars had been used for more than four years while 20 others have clocked up more than 80,000 kilometres, he said.
“We’re still open to buy-back negotiations, on a case-by-case basis,” he said.
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