Myanmar to continue ban on second-hand vehicle imports next year

31, Oct. 2018

YANGON, NNA - The Myanmar government will maintain its tight grip on imports of second-hand vehicles in 2019 in a campaign to drive out right-hand-drive cars and boost local automobile production.

The total ban on imports of right-hand-drive passenger cars and commercial vehicles adopted this year will remain in place, the Supervisory Committee for Motor Vehicles Importation said in a recent announcement.

The latest policy allows passenger cars for consignment to be imported if they are manufactured in 2016 or later. The regulation in effect this year allows those produced in 2014 or after, according to the committee.

Industry officials believe most of the remaining second-hand car dealers in the country will disappear next year as the government continues to crack down on illegal trading in right-hand-drive vehicles, stripping dealerships of licenses, according to local media reports.

The number of used car imports from Japan has ranged from 100,000 to 160,000 units annually since 2012. The country shifted from military rule to a civilian government in 2011 and began opening up the economy.

Right-hand-drive Japanese second-hand vehicles are popular in the domestic market, but the government is trying to slash imports of those vehicles through tighter regulations.

A total of 18 foreign carmakers, including Suzuki Motor Corp. and Nissan Motor Co., assemble vehicles locally with components imported from countries around Myanmar. Toyota Motor Corp. imports completed vehicles.

New car sales in Myanmar are likely to top 10,000 units for the first time this year, with Suzuki dominant with a 52 percent market share in the first half of 2018.

Annual all-vehicle registration has been around 130,000 units in recent years, according to government data.