VinaMazda, a unit of Thaco group, will export its locally-assembled automobiles to Laos on July 14, kick-starting its ambitious plan to penetrate into other Southeast Asian markets with its assembled Mazda brand in the near future.

The shipment of the first batch of Mazda cars by VinaMazda, the exclusive manufacturer and distributor of Japan’s Mazda Motor in Vietnam, was reached under a fresh contract recently signed in Japan by Chairman of Board of Directors of Thaco group Tran Ba Duong and Japan’s Mazda Motor’s Executive Vice President Seita Kanai.

Following Laos, Cambodia and Myanmar will be the next destinations that VinaMazda has eyed on, according the daily newspaper Dau tu on July 10.

Vice President Seita Kanai said his group has seen ASEAN markets as very promising, citing Vietnam where young people account for a large part of population as an example.

For this year, VinaMazda plans to sell at least 300 automobiles in these neighbouring markets and will increase the figure to 3,000 and 15,000 by 2014 and 2020, respectively.

Located in Chu Lai Open Economic Zone in central Quang Nam province, VinaMazda has manufactured three models of Mazda 2, Mazda 3 and Mazda CX-5 applying technologies transferred by Japan’s Mazda. Its chain of 20 showrooms has been operating nationwide.

The company expects to make a sale of 3,000 units this year, making up 5.4 percent of domestic market share that would earn it the 5th position among automobile producers in Vietnam .

At present, Vietnam, together with other four regional countries of Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines, have all defined the automobile industry as the most important sector helping fuel their economic growth.

Accordingly, these countries have welcomed the arrival of such globally well-known manufacturers as GM, Honda, Ford, Toyota, Mitsubishi, and Nissan, making their ASEAN being known as one of the world’s key automobile manufacturing hubs.-VNA