Top-of-the-line BMW 'sounded like a helicopter'

Buyer sues Performance Motors, claiming car hasn't been fixed

Mr Chan leaving the court after yesterday's hearing. He is suing Performance Motors for misrepresentation and breach of contract.
Mr Chan leaving the court after yesterday's hearing. He is suing Performance Motors for misrepresentation and breach of contract.ST PHOTO: NURIA LING

He was one of the first in Singapore to own a $378,000 BMW 550i, a top-of-the-line model.

But two months after getting the car, Mr Chan Chee Kien said it sounded like a "helicopter". It spent nearly all of the next 11 months in the workshop.

Yesterday, the regional sales manager took Performance Motors, a BMW distributor here, to court for misrepresentation and breach of contract, claiming the car has not yet been fixed. He wants a refund and damages.

But the distributor argued that it has already resolved all genuine defects in the car, and that it is of satisfactory quality.

In the last 10 years, Mr Chan has bought three other BMW cars from Performance Motors - two 320i and a 330i. On the stand yesterday, he told the court that in 2010, he was looking to upgrade from the 330i to a bigger car.

He said he was considering the BMW 5 series from Performance Motors and the high performance BMW M series sold by another distributor, Munich Automobiles.

In May 2010, he decided on the 550i, despite it not being available for a test drive as it had not been officially launched in Singapore.

Mr Chan, who said he was told that the car provided a "quieter" ride and had been "rigorously" tested for defects, was the first to buy the model here from Performance Motors. The second one was sold only a year later.

He took delivery of the car in August 2010. But in October, he complained that it was emanating sounds which he described as "propeller noise", even while being driven at normal speeds.

Over the next 11 months, the car went in and out of the workshop seven times, spending 298 days in repair. Mr Chan, who is represented by Mr Michael Por, claimed he has not driven the BMW after retrieving it from the workshop in January last year.

He also said he would not have bought the car had the sales representative not assured him it would be quiet and free of defects, among other things.

But Performance Motors said it had not made any misrepresentations and even if they had been made, Mr Chan had not relied on them when he bought the car.

Questioned by Performance Motors' lawyer Rakesh Kirpalani, he agreed that he had complained about his previous BMWs before.

The hearing, set to last seven days, continues today.