BMW Fleet Donated for Burma’s Asean Summits

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A promotional photo of the BMW 7 Series.

RANGOON — A fleet of up to 95 luxury vehicles made by German automaker BMW will be donated to Burma to ferry dignitaries to and from next year’s Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) summits.

Burma will take on the chairmanship of the 10-nation regional bloc for the first time in 2014. The role involves hosting numerous meetings, including major summits in May and November when foreign ministers and leaders from the member states, and from further afield, will come together in the capital Naypyidaw.

According to a statement dated Wednesday, BMW Asia and its local authorized importer Prestige Automobiles will donate as many as 95 cars—including the BMW 7 Series, 5 Series Executive and the X5 Sports Activity Vehicle—to chauffeur leaders around.

The companies did not say how much the donation would be worth, but a single BMW 7 Series costs at least US$74,000 on the international market.

“As a local company, we want to support all the initiatives for the development of Myanmar,” Chan Mya, managing director of Prestige Automobiles, is quote in the statement as saying.

“Therefore, after our parent company Octagon International Services co-sponsoring the 27th SEA Games by providing transport service, it is an honor to partner this ASEAN Summit chaired by Myanmar,”

San San Myint, spokeswoman for Prestige Automobile said the fleet would be sold to buyers in Burma after the summits, adding that the models used for the summits would be on sale in Burma early next year.

“The customers are very excited about that and we will announce our price range soon,” she added.

Prestige Automobile’s parent company, Octagon International Services, is itself a subsidiary of the Shwe Taung Group of Companies, according to Shwe Taung’s own website.

San San Myint, however, denied that Prestige Automobile is part of the Shwe Taung group, a massive conglomerate run by tycoon Aik Htun.

The group has wide-ranging interests and used to be called Olympic Construction Company, before one of its assets, the Asia Wealth Bank, was in 2004 accused by the US Treasury of connections to money laundering and to the illicit Shan State drugs trade.


5 Responses to BMW Fleet Donated for Burma’s Asean Summits

  1. It can not call donation. The Company will be lending cars to Government for use at Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) summits. Later the Company will be sold to public.

    Is the Company was given Import Duty and Tax free on all cars by Government?
    I’m sure some kind of bribery is involved this scheme because Burmese authority is not dumber and they are also looking for that kind of opportunity. The Company and Government should come clean about that scheme. Burmese peoples can be lost substantial amount of duty and tax on Luxury 95 BMW cars.

    Well, I must suggest Irrawaddy and other journalists should investigate and calculate amount of Duty and Tax concession the Prestige Automobile Company got from Government.
    Obviously, bribery and corruption are still thriving behind the mask in Burma.

  2. All the times this cronies are the nearest class to lift ball to the ruling class peoples. They get money from illicit drugs and illegal business. How can US and EU dignitary personals will use this dirty monies owners cars is a great wonder?

  3. Smells like a giant kickback deal to me. Nobody, especially a car dealer in Myanmar, would donate that many Beemers for a pointless group tour.

  4. just trying to trade with .maybe another concession or business licence.Hope all the Asean Ministers,Deputy ministers ,advisers and even bodyguards will have to take care when riding those BMWs.Avoid making holes on the seats because of your cigars or pipes or cigarettes and scratches on the cars’body.
    After the summit,those BMWs will sell back to the new Burmese wealthy people who are extremely picky about the smallest defects that will actually become the bargaining chip for negotiating the car’s prices.

  5. It is nice to donate the beamers for the ASEAN Summit. It would be even nicer if the said company also provide free maintenance services as beamers are also known as Broke Most Weeks. Driving them on Burmese roads may surely make them visit maintenance shop even more frequently.

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