Myanmar new vehicle sales likely to top 20,000 units in 2019
YANGON, NNA - New vehicle sales in Myanmar this year are estimated to exceed 20,000 units by far, supported by a tightening of the restrictions on used-car imports and higher income of middle-class clientele.
Unit sales of new vehicles between January and November in 2019 reached 19,301, surpassing 17,524 units sold for 12 months of 2018, according to the Automotive Association of Myanmar.
The 2018 new vehicle sales more than doubled from a year ago, the association said.
Suzuki Motor Corp. solidified its position as a top seller with about 11,750 units sold, followed by Toyota Motor Corp., which sold about 3,470 units. Ford Motor Co. of the United States ranked the third, followed by Japanese contenders Nissan Motor Co., Mazda Motor Corp., and Mitsubishi Motors Corp.,
Hyundai Motor Co., which started local production in February, and Kia Motors Corp. of South Korea are not members of AAM.
The strong demand for new vehicles reflects a total ban on imports of used vehicles and right-hand-drive cars imposed by the Myanmar government in 2018 and an expansion of auto loans offered by the country’s banks, which whetted the appetite of non-affluent people.
Suzuki Motor, which is allied with Ayeyarwady Bank of Myanmar, also extended its partnerships to Co-operative Bank, or CB Bank, of the country.
At Suzuki (Myanmar) Motor Co., about 40 percent of buyers take out loans for new vehicle purchases, according to Keiichi Asano, managing director of the company. Most loan users opt for five-year payment plans, he explained, expecting more buyers to rely on loans. The most popular vehicle at Suzuki is Ertiga multi-purpose vehicle.
Suzuki, which already had an annual production capacity of 20,000 units by September, will consider further investment into local production. Toyota Motor began construction of a plant in the Thilawa special economic zone in November for the start of domestic production in 2021. At the plant, it plans to assemble 2,500 units of Hilux pickup truck, annually.
To encourage foreign automakers to shift to local production from imports, the government imposes a registration tax on imports of left-hand-drive vehicles to the local market or caps the number of sales of such cars. Currently, Suzuki, Hyundai, Kia, Nissan and Ford outsource the production of their vehicles.