Daewoo starts assembling semi-knocked down buses in Myanmar from April

Daewoo will begin assembling buses in Myanmar in April. Zarni Phyo/The Myanmar Times

YANGON, Mar 4, 2019, Myanmar Times. Daewoo Bus Myanmar Company, a joint venture between Myanmar Trade Centre and Zyle Daewoo Commercial Vehicle Company, will start assembling semi-knocked down (SKD) buses from April, reported the Myanmar Times.

Daewoo Bus Myanmar managing director Dr Kyaw Kyaw Aung said the company will start producing the BS 106 bus used for city transportation and the Lestar luxury minibus on the SKD system from April at its 14-acre factory in Yangon’s Mingaladon Township leased from the Ministry of Industry.

According to him, the factory will produce 15-, 27- and 45-seater buses based on customer specifications. The buses would use either compressed natural gas or diesel. The average price for the city bus is US$85,000 while the Lestar minibus has an average price of US$45,000. Customers can buy the buses through hire-purchase.

The factory, which cost between US$7 million and US$10 million, can produce up to 500 buses per year and employs over 200 people.

Kyaw Kyaw Aung said over the long-term, the factory’s commercial viability will depend on government policy.

“The government should encourage local production so that we can survive in future. We can localize and also reduce foreign exchange exposure,” he added.

Kyaw Kyaw Aung hopes demand will grow as the company is moving to produce completely knocked down units “very soon”. He pointed out that government policy plays an important role in helping to boost local production and that not just Daewoo will benefit but other foreign auto companies who want to manufacture their vehicles in Myanmar too.

Currently, foreign car companies with a manufacturing presence in Myanmar are all producing on the SKD system, in which vehicle parts that have been partly put together are imported into the country and locally assembled.

Kyaw Kyaw Aung has plans to export to Asean markets besides selling to the local market. He noted that as Myanmar develops, the country will need to rely more on a public transportation system, the main reason for Myanmar Trade Centre, which owns a 75% stake in the joint venture, decided to invest in bus manufacturing.

“We noticed that public transportation in Myanmar is very weak. We shouldn’t think that public transportation is important only in Yangon. The public transportation is still weak in the rest of the states and regions,” Kyaw Kyaw Aung said.

The Mingaladon factory, one of eight in the world producing Daewoo buses, will be supported by service centres in Yangon, Mandalay and Naypyidaw.

Besides a factory in Korea and Myanmar, Zyle Daewoo has manufacturing facilities in China, Costa Rica, Kazakhstan , Pakistan, Taiwan and Vietnam with an annual production capacity of 15,000 buses.

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