Mercedes-Benz (Thailand) Ltd will no longer honour warranty claims for grey-market vehicles, putting further pressure on independent importers after it stopped providing pre-delivery inspection (PDI) services four months ago.
An executive source in Mercedes Benz said the company lost tens of millions of baht a year from warranty claims for Mercedes Benz cars bought from unauthorised distributors.
Grey-market importers in the past asked customers to seek PDI to ensure they would receive warranty coverage from authorised Benz distributors.
As the number of grey-market cars is growing, the company decided to stop providing PDI and to reject warranty claims to end further financial losses, said the source.
Many parallel import (PI) or grey-market vehicles “have not been factory-customised to suit the driving conditions in Thailand and may incur damage or increase the risk of road accidents”, said Alexander Paufler, the president of Mercedes-Benz (Thailand).
In addition, the company said, the company lacks clear information in its database about PI vehicle production, which would be a problem should a corresponding model have any kind of eventual service requirement.
The new policy took effect yesterday.
Each Mercedes-Benz vehicle bought through the official dealer network comes with a three-year manufacturer’s warranty with no mileage restriction plus a Star Assist programme of 24-hour roadside assistance.
The company will provide after-sales service to grey-market vehicles purchased since jan 1 this year but a one-time non-refundable adoption fee of up to 500,000 baht (depending on the model) will apply.
However, if the vehicle has a record of visiting an authorised Mercedes-Benz service centre in Thailand or a warranty history via an authorised service centre in Thailand before Aug 30, 2011, the fee will be waived but an application is still required.