Suzuki to Rev Up Production

Suzuki, one of the world’s largest vehicle makers, plans to start manufacturing motorcycles in Phnom Penh in September, an executive manager of the local partner company said Monday.

Two other foreign companies also have plans to begin making motorbikes in Cambodia but they have not announced when manufacturing would begin.

A joint venture of Suzuki Motor Corp and the OMC Co of Phnom Penh, the Cambodia Suzuki Motor Co Ltd is expected to soon begin hiring staff and training them in order to open an assembly plant on the outskirts of Phnom Penh, said Mr Lea, the executive manager, who refused to give his first name. He said 50 hires would be made soon.

He said that the $2.2 million joint venture with the Japanese firm, which received an investment license in March from the Council for the Development of Cambodia, still needs government approval to import parts before production begins.

“Our weapon has already been loaded with bullets,” Lea said, “but we are still waiting for the signal to fire.”

Sok Chenda, secretary general for the CDC, said that the CDC’s Investment Board will examine the import application as early as Wednesday.

Lea said the new company plans to hire 50 employees initially, including several Japanese engineers who would transfer technical skills to Cambodian staff. Local staff will be sent to Thailand or Japan to receive one-year extensive training, he added.

According to news reports from Tokyo, the venture is capitalized at $500,000, owned 49 percent by Suzuki and 51 percent by OMC. It plans to produce 10,000 to 12,000 motorbikes per year.

Sok Chenda said two other popular brands—Japan’s Honda and Malaysia’s Modenas Kriss Angkor—are also expected to begin assembling their models in Cambodia as the two licensed joint venture companies have already received government approval on importing assembling parts. (Additional reporting by Yuko Maeda)

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