June 10 - Rolls Royce Motor Cars has opened its first dealership in Cambodia. As Hayley Platt reports the investment reflects the growing potential of a country where the average annual wage is less than $1,000.
It would take an average worker in Cambodia 450 years to earn enough money to buy a Rolls Royce. But that hasn't put off the luxury car maker. It's planning to open a show room in the capital Phnom Penh. Paul Harris is the company's regional director. SOUNDBITE (English) ROLLS ROYCE MOTOR CARS REGIONAL DIRECTOR PAUL HARRIS SAYING: "I think that we have a model range that means that we need to become actively involved in the market. It's as simply that. There's enough cars here, frankly, enough work, particularly in the customer satisfaction after-sales area to enable us to establish a business here." Rolls-Royce has signed a deal with local investment firm, HGB Group. It plans to have a four-car show room in place by the end of the year, to the surprise of many locals. SOUNDBITE (Khmer) PROM VEASNA, GUEST HOUSE WORKER SAYING: "I use a bicycle and I have a sandwich to eat which costs about 30 US cents, we are still very poor." Rolls Royce has dealerships in 26 cities in the Asia Pacific region - not including China. And the Cambodia move follows similar openings in the Philippines and Vietnam But local car dealer Sin Soken believes the government now needs to regula te the industry. SOUNDBITE (Khmer) CAR SHOP OWNER, SIN SOKEN SAYING: "It allows one company to import cars while banning others from doing it. I want the government to allow us to import cars from all countries, like the U.S. and Germany." Rolls Royce is unlikely to see a rush of buyers. It's reportedly sold just five cars in the last nine years. But their investment is seen as an indication of Cambodia's potential even though the majority still use two wheels to get around.