Feb 14, 2012

More Chery cars on the way: Ministry of Industry

ABOUT 800 Chery QQ3 passenger cars will be imported by the Ministry of Industry in an effort to satisfy Myanmar’s desire for newer automobiles, ministry officials said last week.
The cars are being purchased from China’s state-owned Chery Auto Mobile Company and are expected to arrive in Yangon in April.

“About 800 Chery QQ3 units will be loaded onboard vessels in China on February 22 and shipped to Yangon,” a ministry official at the Yangon showroom said last week.
She said Chinese New Year celebrations in China had delayed the documentation process or the cars would be arriving earlier.
“Although the ministry would like to import as many as possible, there is a limited budget that we must stick to,” she said.

The Chery QQ3 is almost identical, both mechanically and aesthetically, to the Myanmar Mini Wagon, which the Ministry of Industry has been producing using parts imported from Chery. However, the ministry has run out of parts and engines and production has been suspended, said an official from the assembly plant in Yangon.

As a result, the ministry has turned to direct imports in an effort to meet demand.
In early December 1000 Chery QQ3s were imported and sold at showrooms in Yangon, Mandalay, Nay Pyi Taw and Pathein within a week, the showroom official said.

Pabedan township resident Daw Nwe Nwe Mu was among those whose applications were knocked back.
“I visited the showroom on December 9 to try and buy a car but when I came back on December 12 to submit the application, I was told that the applications had been closed since 2pm,” she said.
Another disappointed customer was Yankin township resident U Aung Kyaw.

“When I visited the showroom in Yangon I was happy to see a big sign out the front that said ‘Sales open to all’ but when I went inside there was a smaller notice on the wall that ‘No more applications to be accepted’,” he said.

The ministry priced the cars at US$5800 but buyers had to pay an extra K2.84 million for customs duties and commercial tax, with another $4102 charged by the Directorate of Road Transport as a licensing fee.
The total cost of the car, including all fees, was about $13,450, which might have explained their popularity with buyers. Other factors that make the Chery car popular with the public are its small 812-cubic-centimetre engine that uses little fuel and its four doors, which make it viable as a taxi.

Owners can easily rent them out for K15,000 a day as taxis.

U Chit Win, a car broker at Hantharwaddy car trading zone in Yangon, said many Chery QQ3s have been converted to taxis to fill the gaps created by the government’s overage car import substitution scheme, which has seen many older cabs exchanged for import permits.

“Thousands of old taxis have been scrapped for import permits but the cars that have been imported are not being used as taxis, which has created a strong demand for other taxis,” he said.
Myanmar Mini Wagons and Chery QQ3s were selling for K13-K14 million in February, he said.

Source: Myanmar Times