Japan eyes car market: sources

JAPANESE car companies have expressed interest in setting up factories in Myanmar, several car showroom owners said last week at car importing and production workshop in Yangon.

“Importing used cars is not the right way for Japanese companies, like Toyota, Nissan and Mitsubishi, in the long term,” said U Htay Aung, chairman of Sakura Auto Auction Centre and owner of Sakura car showroom. “But if they set up here properly then buyers can get vehicles and services from the companies direct,” he added.

“We [car showroom owners] have invested thousand of lakhs to set up our showrooms … But we have no guarantees for the future. People are buying cars from us, instead of on the open market, because we supply cars with licences. “But if they buy from a car showroom, they have to wait for up to three weeks to get licences and registrations,” he said.

“We will cooperate with foreign car companies to help them set up factories here,” he added.
Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) and Japan Heavy Industries Ltd are two of the companies interested in setting up in Myanmar, said U Mg Mg Tin, deputy general manager of Mitsubishi’s Yangon branch office.

He said the company was looking at the opportunities available in Myanmar, as well as the challenges posed by its regulations and the delaying of amendments to the foreign investment law. “MHI is interested in investing in Myanmar and has already started doing surveys and market research, a process that will take about one year,” he said. U Aye Min, a car dealer, said Myanmar car buyers trusted Japanese vehicles long before September, when the government announced the overage car import substitution program. “We are used to Japanese cars and buyers prefer them,” he said.

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