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Ford to sell cars, trucks in Myanmar

Erika Kinetz, Associated Press

YANGON, Myanmar (AP) -- Ford Motor Co. has signed a deal to distribute vehicles in Myanmar, the head of Ford's local partner said Thursday.

Khin Tun, the director of Capital Automotive, said Ford's first showroom in Yangon will sell cars and pickup trucks and could open as early as May.

Ford spokesman Neal McCarthy said the company is "gearing up for market entry" and has a local distributor but declined to discuss details.

PepsiCo, Coca-Cola, GE, Caterpillar and Danish brewer Carlsberg have all signed distribution deals in Myanmar, as rapid political and economic reforms transform the country from pariah state to investor darling.

Capital Automotive is a unit of the Capital Diamond Star Group, whose managing director, Ko Ko Gyi, has built a conglomerate with interests ranging from trading and distribution to construction and real estate without running afoul of U.S. sanctions.

This is his second big win with a U.S. company. Diamond Star Co., another group company, became the sole importer and distributor for PepsiCo's Pepsi-Cola, 7-Up and Mirinda brands in Myanmar in August.