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Auto show delayed by timing difficulties

The Kingdom’s flagship automobile exhibition, scheduled to open on Thursday, has been postponed until early next year, its organisers confirmed yesterday.

The Phnom Penh International Auto Show, also known as CAMAUTO, is the largest annual industry event for authorised automobile distributors, parts suppliers and service providers in Cambodia.

This year’s event was set for November 19-22 at the Diamond Island Exhibition Centre, but has been rescheduled for March 10-13, according to Richard Yew, an international sales representative from AMB Exhibitions, the event’s organiser.

“There are no issues about the delay,” he said. “We work together with Cambodia’s automotive industry association and the association wants to do it in March, close to Khmer New Year when people will buy more [vehicles].”

Yew said international companies have already signed on for the March event, which will feature many new models.

Authorised distributors of BMW, Chevrolet, Ford, Jaguar, Landrover, Mazda, MG, Mitsubishi, Nissan and Toyota displayed their brands at last year’s CAMAUTO show, which was held in October 2014 with the support of the Cambodia Automotive Industry Federation (CAIF). The four-day event included exhibits by more than 100 top automobile parts companies and service providers.

Pily Wong, CEO of Volkswagen distributor Hung Hiep (Cambodia) and co-founder of the CAIF, confirmed that this year’s exhibition had been postponed, but the timing of the rescheduled event was still under discussion and the CAIF may consider holding it once every two years.

“The problem is that Cambodia is a small market and to organise an exhibition is very, very costly,” he said. “This is still a market largely dominated by second-hand cars. It is a very tough situation for new car distributors, so we are very careful of how we are spending.”

Vehicle ownership is increasing rapidly in Cambodia. Some 326,620 vehicles were registered during the first 10 months of 2015, reflecting an 18 per cent increase over the same period a year earlier.

The total number of registered vehicles in Cambodia – mostly motorcycles and used cars – now exceeds 3.1 million, according to state news agency AKP.

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