Business

Local automobile sales
hit all-time high

Shining: Several models pose with a new Mercedes Benz during the 19th Indonesia International Motor Show 2011 in Jakarta. Car sales hit an all-time high of 888,335 units last year, jumping 19.26 percent from 2010. JP/Nurhayati

Indonesia’s annual auto sales hit an all time high in 2011, exceeding the 870,000 units estimated earlier by local automakers amid fears of supply disruption due to the tsunami in Japan last March.

The latest data from the Indonesian Automotive Industry Association (Gaikindo) showed that retail car sales totaled 888,335 units last year, a 19.26 percent increase from 744,895 units in 2010. Meanwhile, wholesale car sales topped 893,420 units in 2011, rising by 16.98 percent from 763,751 units in the previous year.

Toyota Astra Motor (TAM), the country’s largest automobile maker, still dominated the domestic car market, with total sales of 313,967 units, or 35.34 percent of the total sales recorded in 2011, followed by Daihatsu and Mitsubishi, which recorded sales of 137,166 units (15.44 percent) and 129,345 units (14.56 percent), respectively.

Gaikindo chairman Sudirman Maman Rusdi said on Wednesday that the sharp increase in car sales was driven by higher demand from local consumers thanks to the country’s convincing economic performance throughout the year.

The country’s economy grew by 6.5 percent until the third quarter of last year, which was among the highest rates of expansion in the Asia region, according to data from the Central Statistics Agency (BPS) dated November.

“Our economy continues to expand with our GDP [gross domestic product] per capita surpassing US$3,600, meaning higher purchasing power,” he told The Jakarta Post in a telephone interview.

Gaikindo estimated that the car sales would grow only by 4.69 percent to 930,000 units this year as the global economic down

turn would start to affect the Indonesian economy.

“We set such a conservative target because the impact of worldwide economic crisis is still a question for us,” he said, adding that the projected figure would be open for revision on a quarterly basis.

Sudirman, who is also chairman of car maker Astra Daihatsu Motor (ADM), said that along with the nationwide car sales moderate growth, his firm also expected its sales to rise by up to 5 percent to 145,000 units this year, while its market share would rise from 15.5 percent last year to 16 percent this year.

“To achieve this, we’ll sell our existing products and strengthen our sales network,” he said, adding
that Daihatsu would build 10 sales outlets per year until 2013 to reach a total of 200 outlets in the next two years.

Recently, TAM’s marketing director Joko Trisanyoto also said that his firm had set a “conservative” target for next year’s sales due to uncertainties stemming from the current economic slowdown.

The tsunami that hit Japan in March last year followed by the worst flood in a decade in Thailand recently had an adverse impact on Japanese automakers, including Honda and Toyota, which temporarily halted their operations, causing disruption of spare parts and components shipments to
Indonesia.

In November last year, Daihatsu launched the second generation of its best-selling car, the Xenia. The launch ran concurrently with the introduction of the second generation of Avanza, Toyota’s biggest selling car.

The country’s huge population of 240 million and its growing middle class, along with stellar economic performance and improved investment climate in the country led a number of automakers to increase their investment in Indonesia, which is Southeast Asia’s largest economy.

Japan’s fourth-largest automobile and motorcycle manufacturer, Suzuki, has bought 1.3 million square meters of land in an industrial park in East Jakarta for 10 billion yen (US$130.5 million) on which to build a plant.

The new plant, estimated to cost 30 billion yen, will produce 100,000 engines per year to reduce imports.

Suzuki has said that it will invest up to 60 billion yen ($780 million) in the new plant.

The company will spend another 20 billion yen to further increase its local components and expand its annual production capacity by 20,000 cars to 100,000 this year, Reuters reported.

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