Luxury cars gaining popularity in Myanmar

YANGON: A growing number of Myanmar citizens are buying brand-new luxury cars.

Aside from changes in legislation that now allow them to do so, many locals are also becoming more affluent.

This is prompting many premium automobile companies to enter Myanmar.

As Myanmar opens its doors after decades of isolation, over 200 new car showrooms have emerged.

Actual data on the take-up rate of new vehicles is not available – but it is estimated Yangon has already has more than 200,000 vehicles on its streets.

Steve Martin, Asia Pacific regional business manager at Jaguar Land Rover, said: “In terms of buying power, we believe that given that Myanmar has been closed for so long, and now it has really opened with a bang, we believe that there’s a lot of pent-up demand among people who really want to buy luxury items, and clearly cars are significant investments along those lines.”

Jaguar Land Rover is just one of many international automobile players entering the Myanmar market – its confidence fuelled by the country’s fast growing economic development.

Despite high levels of poverty currently, Myanmar is forecast by the Asian Development Bank to record growth of up to 7.8 per cent per year, and triple its per capita income by 2030.

With that comes a potential sky-rocketing of citizens’ purchasing power, and the auto sector is poised to take advantage.

Chin Kee Min, general manager at Cycle & Carriage Automobile Myanmar, said: “Currently I think we’re projecting about 200-300 Mercedes Benz a year for the current year. But I see that it would easily double or even triple in the next three to five years. The rate of growth is accelerating at an unbelievable pace.”

With a population of about three million in Yangon alone, industry players believe the automobile pie will be big enough for all to share.

Mr Chin said: “The direct impact of foreign investments, the market opening up, a lot of people are getting richer by the day. People have increased confidence in the market. I think they feel more comfortable putting their money in the country and of course pampering themselves a little along the way.”

Those in their early 30s and have been successful in running their own businesses are said to be the main segment of society that is driving demand for luxury vehicles. Many of them have lived overseas and want to enjoy the same comfort and luxuries that they have experienced when living abroad.

Source: Channel News Asia

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