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Business trends

Hyundai joins fray in Myanmar's crowded auto market

Nissan, Suzuki, Kia and Ford turn to local production to avoid import limits

A Feb. 8 launch party in Yangon marked the beginning of Hyundai's local production in Myanmar. (Photo by Yuichi Nitta)

YANGON -- Myanmar's restrictions on imported vehicles are pressing foreign automakers to switch to local production, adding pressure to a crowded field in Southeast Asia's last promising growth market.

Last week, South Korea's Hyundai Motor marked the opening of a new contract manufacturing facility in Myanmar by launching its first locally made cars. That makes it one of five local producers in an auto market shy of 20,000 sales per year -- about 2% the size of nearby Thailand -- despite a population of over 50 million.

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