Ford opens first Myanmar dealership

Ford Motor Co said it began operating on Tuesday in Myanmar, with some models to be imported from Thailand.

  • Published: 30/04/2013 at 07:13 PM
  • Newspaper section: breakingnews

A worker polishes a Ford during an event by the US carmaker in Yangon on Tuesday. Ford announced plans on Tuesday to enter the Myanmar market as sanctions have eased following democratic reforms in 2012. (AFP photo)

The automaker will open its first dealership in Yangon, the former capital, in partnership with Capital Automotive Ltd, a unit of Myanmar's Capital Diamond Star Group, Ford said in an emailed statement. Initial models for sale include the F-series and Ranger pickup trucks, the US company said.

Ford follows India's Tata Motors Ltd and Japan's Suzuki Motor Corp in setting up operations in Myanmar, as the country enhances economic and political ties with Western nations following years of military rule.

Ford will import models for sale in Myanmar from Thailand and the United States. Sources said Ford's Rayong production lines can make cars with both left- and right-hand drives. Ford said its entry into the country is part of an aggressive expansion in the Asia-Pacific region.

"We see tremendous potential and opportunity for Ford in Myanmar," David Westerman, Asia Pacific regional manager for the company's export and growth operations, said in the statement. "Through the partnership, Ford is well positioned to fully realise the huge potential of this market over the long term," he said.

Myanmar President Thein Sein's efforts to end five decades of military rule have been rewarded with an easing of US and European sanctions.

The central bank scrapped a 35-year fixed currency system in April 2012, and is moving to unify multiple exchange rates for the local currency, the kyat, which have restricted transfers abroad and disadvantaged private exporters.

Tata Motors established its first dealership in Yangon on April 7 to sell and service its trucks and buses. The Mumbai-based company is setting up a heavy-truck assembly plant in Magwe, central Myanmar, with a capacity to produce 1,000 vehicles a year initially, Tata said.

Suzuki gained approval from Myanmar's government to set up a new production and sales subsidiary, and plans to make small trucks in Yangon starting in May, the company said in February.

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