The expat, who has asked not to be named, bought his MG HS i-SMART from MG Phuket Co Ltd on Thepkrasattri Rd, in Tambon Thepkrasattri, Thalang, in July 2020.
Yet after spending B1,069,000 on a new car, the problems were so extensive that the dealer agreed to replace the main computer unit after only three months.
The problems, nearly all electronic, have continued; some consistent, others irregular but recurring. The huge assortment of electronic problems each individually could be considered minor problems, but collectively they make the “benefits” of paying extra for the i-SMART model more than worthless.
On the display panel, the time is often incorrect, the language keeps reverting to Thai for the weather (despite English still selected as the default setting), the windshield wiper delays stops working, calls are dropped, the screen goes entirely blank, the radio returns to scan mode on starting the car, and so on. This list of examples is far from exhaustive.
Worse, the crash warning system gives alerts for phantom vehicles that are not there but there was not a beep when a truck cut across in front of the car in Bangkok. The car even issues false crash warnings when pulling up at traffic lights.
The rear hatch keeps popping open and the brake discs have already been skimmed to ensure they grip properly after they started to fade early.
Every now and then the music starts playing at a very high volume without any warning. One such episode happened while the expat was driving along a highway at night while returning from Bangkok from yet another service at an MG service centre in the capital. The incident gave him such a fright he had to pull over immediately.
After months of initially dealing with the dealer in Thalang, the expat was later referred to Phuket Piya MG Co Ltd in Rassada, and the problems continued. Updates were repeatedly run on the main computer unit, with staff believing that was the problem. Five times the procedure was repeated within six weeks ‒ and yet, the electronic system still repeatedly has critical issues.
“I have been in MG repair shops over four days of my life now, more than 96 hours for a broken car,” the expat told The Phuket News.
He also can prove it. He has kept a detailed record of all the issues, and the attempts to repair them. All his trials and tribulations with the “new” car have been extensively documented, complete with print outs of repeated services performed on the car and even videos proving the faults. The expat has a binder full of documents, images and reports confirming all the problems he has experienced, which remain unresolved.
He has asked for a replacement new car since November 2020, which MG Thailand have consistently refused. Now he has to pay out of his own pocket to start legal proceedings for any compensation for all the time and out of pocket expenses to try and get his car fixed.
Only after the expat filed a formal complaint with the Office of Consumer Protection at the new government building complex in Phuket Town, now home to the new Provincial Hall, did MG Sales (Thailand) take an active interest in resolving the problems.
However, with local attempts failing to fix the problems, and after MG Thailand failed to uphold a promise to send a qualified technician to Phuket, the expat agreed to take the car to a main service centre in Bangkok. A trip he had to make twice.
In getting to Bangkok on one trip, the service centre had the car for eight days, after which the expat was told that the car was “100% fixed”. Yet even on the drive leaving the service centre the problems started recurring even before he left the city.
While the car has been returned for repairs more than 40 times in total so far, 30 of those times were within one year. Tiresome has been the runaround. Just to have the driver’s side rear-view mirror repaired, which had stopped retracting, took four separate trips to the shop in Phuket to be finally fixed.
After three meetings chaired by senior figures at the Phuket Consumer Protection office, and attended by MG Thailand representatives from Bangkok, the expat has now been told that they can do nothing for him.
MG Thailand has been cagey about the ongoing issues with the car becoming public. At the third and final meeting last month, an MG representative from Bangkok requested The Phuket News to leave the room before they would even start the meeting.
MG Thailand are still refusing to replace the car with a fully functioning version. All the repairs so far have been performed under warranty, and that is being understood by MG Thailand as upholding their end of the deal.
“I thought it would be the last car I would buy in my life,” the expat told The Phuket News.
“I bought this car because I thought it was a good car. I waited two years to settle on buying this model. It was everything I was looking for, and affordable,” he said.
“I bought it so I could travel around Thailand, but I have not been able to do that while the car keeps having to go back in the shop for repairs. I never thought it would be such a lemon,” he added.
Similar problems have been reported openly online by other MG HS owners, but nowhere to the same extent that the expat has suffered here in Phuket.
Of note, at the meeting at the Consumer Protection office in Phuket Town in June, another meeting was held between a customer and MG representatives, though details of that meeting have yet to become public.