Sumitomo begins direct imports of Hino vehicles to Myanmar

YANGON — Japanese trading company Sumitomo Corp. is now bringing commercial vehicles made by Hino Motors into Myanmar, aiming to capitalize on growing demand for dump trucks and other products for infrastructure construction.

Summit SPA Motors, a joint venture with the Serge Pun & Associates conglomerate, signed a deal with Hino in March to serve as the sole distributor of the Japanese automaker’s vehicles. It will import vehicles made in Japan as well as cheaper models built in China and Indonesia.

The venture, in which Sumitomo holds a 60% stake, also plans to expand its network of dealerships selling Hino products from two to five by 2020.

With Myanmar restricting imports by foreign companies, imports of Hino vehicles had been handled by a Serge Pun subsidiary until recently. Summit SPA was granted a showroom license last fall, letting it import vehicles directly despite its majority foreign ownership. The change should lower the appraised value of imports for customs purposes and simplify paperwork for vehicle inventories.

Summit SPA has opened authorized service stations for Hino vehicles in two major cities in recent years, aiming to use the additional interaction with customers coming in for maintenance to sell more new vehicles. Hino mechanics from Japan were brought in this past spring.

Roughly 20,000 new and secondhand commercial vehicles are sold in Myanmar each year. Though this is less than in neighboring countries, industry players see room for growth.

Source : Nikkei Asian Review