Toyota comes to Myanmar

  • By Maung Thitsa (Yankin)
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Photo shows Toyota Motor Corp.’s newly imported Camry sedan unveiled at Yangon Motor Show, 1st international auto show in Myanmar, held from 23 January to 27 January in 2019. Photo: Kyodo News

According to 2018 global market indicators, Toyota had a global market share of 9.46 per cent, Volkswagen 7.38 percent, and Ford 5.83 per cent. Myanmar’s auto market sees a brighter future as Toyota, the world’s top automaker, will come to the country soon.
The news about the plan of Toyota Corporation of Japan to make investment and assemble cars in Myanmar has been appearing in the Japanese dailies as well as Myanmar media in detail. The Toyota has been a popular brand in Myanmar since long ago. Toyota brand is popular in the world as the Japanese carmaker has a excellent quality control mechanism. The Toyota Corporation is always repairing the defective parts or replacing them in time. In this way, the corporation is doing business with full responsibility.

A better choice
Local car consumption rises sharply alongside the robust economic growth of Myanmar. According to Toyota (Myanmar), the local demand for cars reached 18000 in 2018, indicating an over 200 per cent rise when compared with the previous years. In the past, Myanmar imported only the second hand Toyota cars. Now, the global giant will manufacture cars such as Toyota Hilux, Vios and Rush in Myanmar. So, Myanmar people will have a better and broader choice in buying cars.
A delegation from Toyota Corporation called on Union Minister for Investment and Foreign Economic Relations and Chairman of Myanmar Investment Commission U Thaung Tun on 30 May, according to the ministry website. At the meeting, which was also witnessed by Ambassador of Japan to Myanmar Mr. Ichiro Maruyama, President Mr. Susumu Matsuda of Toyota Motor Asia & Pacific Pte Ltd explained his investment plans in Myanmar. In his discussions, Union Minister U Thaung Tun welcomed the Toyota’s plan to invest in Myanmar, and requested the Japanese giant’s involvement in technological sharing and human resources development. Toyota will make investment at Thilawa Special Economic Zone, and is expected to produce cars on commercial scale in 2021.
Toyota Corporation (Yangon Branch) released a public announcement on 30 May about the formation of Toyota Myanmar (TMY) Company and the establishment of an assembling plant at Thilawa Special Economic Zone in June. As it will pour US$ 52.6 million in the factory project that will be run with about 130 staffs, the country will get investment and job opportunities for its citizens. The factory will start assembling 2500 Toyota Hilux cars per year under Semi Knocked-Down system in 2021. So, the factory will fulfill the auto requirement of Myanmar and ensure customer satisfaction in Myanmar.
Toyota Motor Corporation of Japan will have a 85% share, and the Toyota Tsusho Corporation, 15% share in the Toyota Myanmar Co.,Ltd. The good news is that the factory begins producing standard Japanese car in Myanmar this month.
The factory will produce cars and provide services that will be most suitable for the country. Myanmar is inviting responsible investments, and the Japanese investment will help develop the country’s industrial sector and increase the number of technicians. As Toyota will strive for improvement of human resources and proficiency, it is a great opportunity for us to acquire technological knowhow.

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Toyota Motor Corp.’s assembly plant in Fukuoka Prefecture. Photo: Kyodo news

Better opportunities
Although Toyota will start operations with 130 employees, this would be a great opportunity for Myanmar engineers and technicians in the field of car assembling. When Toyota expends its operations, there will be more opportunities for Myanmar to produce human resources skillful in car production. We must welcome and support Toyota and its popular brand and high technology, and its factory that will produce Toyota Hilux, Vios and Rush under Semi Knocked-Down (SKD).
Toyota, with the intention of producing cars in Myanmar, conducted a field study in the country in 2013. But during the time the cost for importing Complete Built-up Unit (CBU) was cheaper than the cost for producing cars under Semi Knocked-Down (SKD and Completely Knock- Down CKD systems. Moreover, there were no supporting industries then. So, spare parts manufacturing was the best answer during the time. But now, the Myanmar Investment Commission permitted the Semi Knocked-Down (SKD) system.
The Government is also giving encouragement for the introduction of the Completely Knocked-Down (CKD) later, in connection with the local small and medium industries. We must welcome Toyota which is renowned for always honouring its warranty.

Toyota’s production of cars with modern technology will also help enhance the quality of locally produced cars. Moreover, Myanmar people can use locally produced international standard cars, and the country can extend car market. Moreover, locally produced cars will be cheaper than their imported counterparts and emit less carbon dioxide when compared with the used cars. Investor-friendly policies of the Government will increase investments from global brands like Toyota and benefits for buyers, producers and distributers.

(Translation: TMT)

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