Cheap Chinese-made spare parts for Japanese automobiles have flooded Yangon’s auto market, beating out their pricier yet genuine counterparts, industry sources say.
The price gap between Chinese-made and Japanese-made spare parts could be tenfold, sometimes as high as 100 times, spare parts shop owners at Yangon’s Bayintnaung car market told Myanmar Business Today.
“A new Japanese-made engine oil filter is K30,000-50,000 ($31-52) but a Chinese one is K3,000-5,000,” a spare parts shop owner at Bayintnaung said.
“The users usually opt for the cheaper one.”
Following the relaxation of import regulations three years ago and slash in custom taxes and duties, Japanese automobiles flooded Yangon’s roads. As many as 250,000 cars came into the country since mid-2011, according Road Transport Authority’s statistics.
Some businessmen still import Japanese-made accessories but customers prefer cheaper Chinese-made parts. “Most of the Japanese spare parts in the market are old as imports have slowed down,” another shop owner said.
However, traders say Japanese spare parts imports will eventually pick up as there will be a big gap to fill in terms of supply and demand amid an increasing number of Japanese car imports.
“Currently, there’s little import [of Japanese parts] but the market will soon have a big demand. Also, using cheap spare parts and body accessories is bad for a car, and cars become prone to more accidents if the owners use substandard parts,” an automobile engineer said.
Drivers using Chinese-made car spare parts often face car malfunction and accidents, a spokesperson from Eaitsarthaya Automobile spare parts shop said.
Besides Chinese-made auto spare parts, accessories from Thailand, Indonesia, the Philippines and India are also common, automobile market sources say.
Authorities also advise using genuine automobile parts to increase road safety. Vehicles from Aung Mingalar Highway Express station are currently being checked for authentic spare parts by concerned officers, a source from Aung Mingalar Highway Vehicle Control Department said.