Toy­ota deal­ers nudge buy­ers to­ward choos­ing new cars

The Myanmar Times - - Business - Ayenyein­win@mm­times.com AYE NYEIN WIN

TOY­OTA deal­ers try­ing to sell new ve­hi­cles are ham­strung by the brand’s suc­cess in Myan­mar, which has left a huge pool of used cars for buy­ers to choose from.

Sec­ond-hand Toy­otas are the ve­hi­cles of choice in much of Myan­mar, and peo­ple rarely buy used cars from other brands. But this pop­u­lar­ity means that the tough­est com­pe­ti­tion fac­ing the coun­try’s Toy­ota deal­ers is not ri­val brands, but used Toy­otas.

This was al­ready putting a damper on de­mand even be­fore re­cent reg­u­la­tory re­stric­tions on im­port­ing new cars, which has fur­ther de­pressed ap­petite, said U Myo Myint Thein, gen­eral man­ager at Toy­ota Aye and Sons.

“To be frank, the cur­rent sit­u­a­tion is not con­ve­nient,” he said. “The cus­tomers are hold­ing off on buy­ing brand-new Toy­otas.”

A re­cent tax in­crease on im­port­ing new cars has pushed up prices across Myan­mar, and in Yan­gon im­ports also re­quire a park­ing per­mit let­ter, which the lo­cal govern­ment has made it very dif­fi­cult to ac­quire.

This has seen de­mand from Yan­gon cus­tomers crum­ble, but U Myo Myint Thein is hop­ing in­ter­est from buy­ers in other cities and re­gions will help pick up the slack.

Ca­ter­ing to buy­ers in places with­out park­ing per­mit re­stric­tions could help boost sales, but U Myo Myint Thein fears get­ting rid of ve­hi­cles al­ready pledged to Yan­gon buy­ers wait­ing for a change in the sys­tem or pol­icy.

Al­though Toy­ota deal­ers face the ad­di­tional prob­lem of fight­ing against a pool of used cars of the same brand, they are not alone in cop­ing with drop­ping de­mand from Yan­gon – the coun­try’s largest car mar­ket.

An of­fi­cial at a Ford dealer in Yan­gon said that he was re­ly­ing en­tirely on de­mand from other states and re­gions.

“It’s not just Ford,” he said. “All sale centres and show­rooms are fac­ing the same dif­fi­culty. But we un­der­stand the govern­ment, and there is a rea­son [they are pur­su­ing this pol­icy].”

Hun­dreds of thou­sands of new cars were im­ported un­der the for­mer govern­ment, mostly end­ing up on the streets of Yan­gon and lead­ing to se­ri­ous con­ges­tion and traf­fic prob­lems.

‘’The govern­ment should cre­ate enough space for car park­ing and that will have an im­pact on traf­fic,” said U Myo Myint Thein. “Then if there is no more traf­fic, there is no need to get [own­er­ship ap­provals] from town­ship ad­min­is­tra­tors.”

Last year, 150,000 ve­hi­cles were im­ported to Myan­mar. Among them, only 4000 units were brand-new. From Jan­uary to April this year, 32,000 units were im­ported with 1200 of them brand-new, ac­cord­ing to the Au­tho­rised Au­to­mo­bile Distri­bu­tion As­so­ci­a­tion.

Photo: Zarni Phyo

In­ter­ested par­ties (right) ex­am­ine a new Toy­ota Corolla at a show­room in Yan­gon.

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