Jaguar aims for bite of growing premium market
BRAND-NEW Jaguars and Land Rovers will soon hit Myanmar's streets, as the British automaker last week launched its first showroom and service centre in Yangon with its local dealer Capital Automotive Ltd, demonstrating confidence in Myanmar as a market for premium brands.
Khin Tun, managing director of Capital Automotive, told Myanmar Eleven that it had taken a long time to bring the UK brand to Myanmar, but he was optimistic sales would be swift.
"I am sure we will soon see many of these new Land Rover and Jaguar models on the roads in Myanmar," he said, declining however to say how many vehicles the company expected to sell in the short or long term. "It is really hard to guess at the present," he explained.
Prices for Land Rover vehicles will range from US$100,000 to $330,000. For Jaguars, prices range from US$149,000 to $250,000.
Khin Tun put the wide range in prices down to the fact that vehicles can be customised for each customer. "Prices may change due to options and interior accessories. They change according to the need of customers. We cannot guess the price at a glance," he said.
Although Myanmar is one of the poorest countries in the world. Its annual per-capita income was estimated at merely $1,700 last year, ranking it at 201 out of 228 countries, according to a leading index. Still, a segment of the country's 60 million people has been identified as a lucrative luxury market.
"We believe there are a lot of people in our country who can buy premium brands," Khin Tun said, adding that "a lot of foreign businesses are rushing to invest in Myanmar day by day".
Myanmar's premium market is set to for exponential growth over the next few years, said Dale Jones, country manager of RMA Group, a partner of Capital Automotive.
"We intend to lead this growth market by offering a truly exquisite range of luxury sports cars and SUVs. We have made a significant investment to provide excellent facilities, sophisticated diagnostic and maintenance equipment and comprehensive technical training," Jones said.
Stephen Crisp, Jaguar Land Rover's director of global government affairs, echoed this view.
"We are confident that there is great market potential for our iconic Jaguar and Land Rover vehicles in this exciting and expanding economy," he said.
"I can assure you [that] we will be following up with many more exciting vehicles in the months and years ahead."
The UK's largest premium automotive manufacturer announced its partnership with Capital Automotive in March. Capital Automotive has eight car showrooms and also distributes Ford vehicles.
Myanmar's auto market remains dominated by used cars imported from Japan, but even this market is seeing a switch from older to newer models, industry observers say.
As the authorised dealer for Jaguar and Land Rover vehicles, Capital Automotive will handle everything from sales to repairs.
Mike Pease, its general manager, was upbeat on the impact of the partnership with Jaguar. "This is the newest and most prestigious automotive dealership in the country, and notably, the first facility in the region to incorporate all of Jaguar Land Rover's new corporate design motifs and visual identity," he said.
The first buyer of a vehicle could be the British Embassy, suggested its ambassador, who was on hand for the opening of the showroom.
"I can personally vouch for the fact that their Land Rover Defender is very well suited to the Myanmar terrain," Ambassador Andrew Patrick said. He explained that he had spent five days covering over 1,500 kilometres of Myanmar's roads in a Union Jack branded Land Rover last December as part of the embassy's Great Britain week.
"In the UK, I have a Jaguar, and in Myanmar, the Embassy flag car will soon be a Land Rover," he said.