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Auto Market in For A Bumpy Ride in 2013

Auto traders are predicting a struggle for Myanmar’s auto industry in 2013, mostly due to a lack of fixed auto policy, but the government insists that changes are on their way.

A source from the Vehicle Manufacturing and Trade Association said that in Yangon cars were often sold without licenses and without using show rooms, something that was insisted upon in previous policies. Some cars, he added, should not even have made it through ports.

“Myanmar’s car market is not going to be steady in 2013. Nobody knows how the government will change the policy. As a result, the car market becomes unstable,” said U Htay Aung, chairman of Vehicle Manufacturing and Trade Association.

The country’s car import policy has fluctuated in recent years with regular changes, leaving many wondering what will happen next.

“The price may go up or might come down. Each new policy is a ‘seasonal policy’. It will not even last a year,” U Aung added.

The government, however, recently announced that changes to the country’s auto policy were being discussed.

Minister of Commerce, U Win Myint, said in a statement last week that the new bill would include importing and manufacturing vehicles and would involve cooperation with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) as well as experts from Myanmar Car Manufacturers and Traders Association, media and local experts.

“In Yangon, many car sales go on without a show room and no legal action is taken. The City Development Committee and State Government of Yangon Region are responsible for this,” an official from the association said.

Asked about the government’s proposed changes, U Aung admitted the changes were likely to make a difference to the industry, but it will take time.

“The changes will not take place straight away, but one by one. It will take a long time for the industry to be in a good position,” he said.

U Aung also said old cars on the streets need to be banned.

“Importing of cars that are fifteen years old needs to be banned, and modern cars need to be introduced,” he said.

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