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.