Photo by: Chun Sohpal
A man works on a vehicle on the production line at the Khmer First Car Factory, located in Dangkor district, Phnom Penh, yesterday.
Wednesday, 02 March 2011 15:00 Chun Sophal and Sieam Bunthy
Cambodia's Khmer First Car Factory has sold 60 vehicles on the domestic market since it began sales last month, according to marketing manager Liu Dai Fu.
The US$15 million joint venture between Cambodian shareholders and Chinese car company Beijing Automobile Works assembles vehicles in Phnom Penh from parts imported from China, he said yesterday. It aims to sell 1,000 of its three BAW models in Cambodia year, he said, adding brand recognition was currently a challenge.
“At the present time, our car sales are still having difficulty competing with cars imported from Japan and Korea,” he said.
“But we hope that [establishing] the brand name as well as quality standards will lead customers to change their minds.”
Ministry of Industry, Mines and Energy department of industrial affairs deputy director Hort Pheng claimed yesterday it was the first plant domestically producing vehicles, adding it showed Cambodia was making increased use of heavy industry.
“We support car production in Cambodia because it shows it is the new face of technological development and income,” he said yesterday.
But South Korea’s Hyundai has also declared plans to produce cars in Cambodia through a joint venture in Koh Kong, with work due to have begun, but ministry officials said yesterday they were not aware whether the company had started production.
Meanwhile, Ministry of Commerce figures obtained yesterday showed the value of vehicle imports increased by 35 percent last year compared with 2009. Cambodia imported a total of 562,529 cars and motorbikes worth $252 million in 2010, the figures show.
Kong Putheara, director of the ministry’s Department of Trade Statistics and Information, said the increase came as Cambodians enjoyed increasing economic clout.