Jul 28, 2012

TSL tests Myanmar auto service waters

TSL, the premium car import specialist, yesterday announced its expansion into Myanmar, its first international investment, starting with integrated automotive maintenance and body repair service.
Investing directly in Myanmar will prepare it for the Asean Economic Community in 2015, said Sureeporn Udompolvanich, the chief executive of TSL Auto Corporation, the independent importer of luxury car brands worldwide.
"Opening up of the regional free trade area is very positive for TSL in terms of labour, logistics, vehicles and parts," she said.
TSL will become the first automotive business from Thailand to enter the market in Myanmar.
Myanmar charges foreign-owned companies no corporate income tax for five years, extendable every three years to attract foreign investment.
Myanmar also has more abundant resources than Thailand, which could be used in the production of auto parts, she added.
"We expect development and investment will flock to Myanmar in the near future. As a neighbour, we hope to have an edge over other countries in understanding Myanmar consumers due to our close cultures," said Ms Sureeporn.
TSL will introduce a car maintenance and body repair service as its starting business in Myanmar by year-end.
SMRT, a well-known maintenance service in Thailand among premium car importers, will be brand-registered in Myanmar to handle car maintenance and body repair service.
The investment cost for SMRT is about US$1 million, with TSL investing 40% and local partners 60%.
Other services will include car window film, tyres, spare parts, lubricating oil and car decoration items.
The SMRT workshop will be built on 1.5 rai of land in central Yangon, with six hoists to serve 30 vehicles per day. Four trained mechanics and technicians from Thailand will be stationed there.
SMRT will service all brands of used European cars, but Toyota will be the only Japanese brand.
The company will make deals with car importers in Myanmar to provide maintenance to their customers.
Today no professional workshops operate in Myanmar, with small roadside garages the norm.
Ms Sureeporn said SMRT hopes to break even in Myanmar in two years on the back of monthly revenue of 3 million baht.
"The automotive import market in Myanmar is rather vast, and premium car users are also numerous, as the mechanics tend to have poor skills, so this is a business opportunity for TSL," she added.

Source: Bangkok Post