Ford revs up for Myanmar market

news in myanmar

American Ford Motor Company officially entered Myanmar’s automotive market on Tuesday through an exclusive partnership with Myanmar’s Capital Automotive Limited and plans to offer Myanmar customers a full showroom of its vehicles by the end of the year.Ford’s deal with Capital Automotive will make it the first global automaker to offer complete automotive solutions in the country.

“Our new showroom, in a prime location on Insein Road in Hlaing Township of Yangon, will be the country’s very first combined three ‘S’ facility—showroom, service and spare parts,” said Dave Westerman, regional manager, Asia Pacific, Ford Export & Growth Operations, during a press conference on Tuesday in Yangon.

“As we speak, the final touches are being put on this state-of-the-art dealership facility, which has been built to Ford’s global standards, and will showcase a full lineup of our global One Ford cars, trucks and SUVs,” he said.

Capital Automotive is a subsidiary of domestic conglomerate Capital Diamond Star Group, one of the largest companies in Myanmar. Capital Diamond Star Group operates across a number of key industry segments, employing 4,000 and posting an annual turnover of about US$400 million.

Ford will supply their domestic operation with imported vehicles from its global production facilities, the closest of which is in Thailand. It has not announced a timeframe for the domestic assembly and manufacture of vehicles, but Westerman said the company would consider this as a “second phase”.

Ford also announced on Tuesday that it will bring its Conservation and Environmental Grants program to Myanmar this year, a corporate social responsibility program geared toward advancing environmental initiatives.

“By providing necessary funding and visibility here in Myanmar, our aim will be to encourage local grassroots efforts that will serve as catalysts for change,” Westerman said.

Ford and its partners will announce an open call for grant proposals in the country later this year.

Derek Mitchell, the US Ambassador to Myanmar, said at the press conference that Ford’s presence in Myanmar is a sign of American policy encouraging corporate investment in the country.

“Companies will make their own judgments as to whether or not requirements [for investment in Myanmar] are onerous, but we rely on American companies to promote responsible investment, transparency, and keep consistent with our core values,” he said.

“An essential part of US corporate culture is that America truly invests in the places in which they do business,” he added, referring to Ford’s corporate social responsibility scheme and pledge to build a trained work force.

Ford also announced its intent with Capital Automotive to expand facilities in other markets across Myanmar as their business grows over the long-term.