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Ford to market vehicles in Myanmar

Ford plans to open the first showroom for new vehicles in Myanmar, Southeast Asia’s poorest nation.

Khin Maung Win/Associated Press

Ford plans to open the first showroom for new vehicles in Myanmar, Southeast Asia’s poorest nation.

YANGON, Myanmar — Ford Motor Co. announced its entry into Myanmar on Tuesday, saying it plans to open the nation’s first sales and service showroom for new vehicles by August.

Myanmar’s vehicle market has been stunted by decades of international sanctions and strict import controls put in place by the military junta that ruled for nearly 50 years, handing out import licenses to a few favored tycoons. Today most vehicles on the road are used Japanese cars, with an estimated 80 percent of vehicles over 10 years old.

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‘‘It’s got a lot of positives in a country of roughly 60 million people with some of the lowest car ownership per capita in the world,’’ said David Westerman, a regional manager for Ford Asia Pacific.

Ford has hired around 50 people for its Yangon operations and plans to expand across the country. Ford has no immediate plans to open assembly or manufacturing plants.

Myanmar is the poorest country in Southeast Asia.

Ford joins PepsiCo, Coca-Cola, GE, Caterpillar, and Danish brewer Carlsberg, which have all signed distribution deals in Myanmar as rapid political and economic reforms transform the country from pariah state to investor darling.

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