Car makers up local production despite challenges

Car makers in Myanmar have been increasing production of locally assembled automobiles in response to higher demand.

Suzuki Myanmar Motor Co Ltd this year produced 15,000 vehicles compared to 12,000 in 2018, representing a 25 percent increase in year-on-year production, the company said.

“We are more producing more brand new motors based on our factory capacity in Thilawa this year and now command 60 percent of the market for new cars in Myanmar,” said Keiichi Asano, Managing Director of the Suzuki Myanmar.

Suzuki Myanmar opened its factory in Yangon’s South Dagon township in May 2013, where it began by assembling Suzuki Carry trucks. Over the years, it also began producing the Suzuki Ertiga and Suzuki Ciaz and moved its factory to Thilawa Special Economic Zone to accommodate higher production volumes.

Priced at around K27 million, the Ertiga is now the best-selling car for Suzuki in Myanmar. Its other models, which include the Ciaz, GLX and GL are priced between K20 million and K27 million before registration fees and taxes.

But Fitch Solutions warned in a report dated October 4 that the sector’s potential for growth may be hampered by Myanmar’s underdeveloped banking system. Poor consumer access to credit, it said would be an “ongoing barrier to greater vehicle ownership.”

The research firm added that Myanmar’s limited road network coverage will deter potential consumers from purchasing more vehicles.

“We forecast Myanmar’s vehicle ownership rate to reach jus t 26.5 vehicles per 1000 of the population by the end 2019, much lower than Thailand, which will surpass 290 vehicles per 1000 of its population over the same period,” it said.

Nevertheless, Mr Asano said that the firm expects to increase production in the future as market demand and competition from other car makers increases.

In 2018, more than 18000 new vehicles were sold in Myanmar, which is 2.1 times more than the previous year’s, according to available data.

By 2020, automakers estimate that the number of vehicles driven in Myanmar will exceed 2 million.

Toyota Motor Corporation (Toyota) is already establishing its first vehicle production company in Thilawa SEZ, where it will produce the Toyota Hilux from February 2021 onwards.

Toyota currently sells the Hilux, Vios, Rush, and other vehicles in Myanmar by relying on imports. Its new US$53 million facility will allow it to assemble around 2500 Hilux vehicles using the semi knock-down method.

Source: Myanmar Times

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