Toyota To Assemble Vehicles in Myanmar

By The Irrawaddy 27 May 2019

YANGON—Japanese automobile manufacturer Toyota will build an assembly plant in Myanmar this year, according to Japanese media reports.

Kyodo reported on Sunday that Toyota Motor Corp. will invest several billion yen in the plant in the Thilawa Special Economic Zone on the outskirts of Yangon. The facility will focus on pickup trucks by assembling parts imported from Japan and other nearby nations.

An official announcement could come before the end of the month.

Due to import restrictions on used vehicles, demand for new cars is strong in Myanmar. Last year, 17,500 new automobiles were sold in the country—more than double the previous year. Toyota currently exports about 2,000 passenger and commercial vehicles to Myanmar per year and sees the market as one with strong growth potential, according to The Yomiuri Shimbun.

Currently, Suzuki and Nissan of Japan, Kia Motors Corp. and Hyundai Motor Co. of South Korea, Ford of the U..S and other major automakers already operate in Myanmar. Meanwhile, locally assembled cars are popular with both manufacturers and buyers due to their lower sales tax and easier licensing process.

Myanmar Automobile Manufacturers and Distributors Association chairman Dr. Soe Tun welcomed Toyota’s presence in the country, saying it would give consumers more choice. He predicted that locally assembled Toyota vehicles were not likely to have a big impact on the automobile market in the short term.

“They will focus on pickup trucks first. It will take one or two more years before they have a serious effect on the local market,” he said.

The Irrawaddy reporter Aung Thiha Tun contributed to this report.

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