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Jakarta Post

Why we need to support Kiat Esemka, Jokowi and nationalism

Jakarta   /   Sat, March 24 2012   /  02:33 pm

The Indonesian car industry sector has quite a promising outlook. The Indonesian Automotive Industry Association (Gaikindo) estimates that 880,000 units were sold in 2011, beating its target of 850,000 units, and projected that 950,000 units would be sold in 2012.

Unfortunately, the nation’s nascent car industry cannot take advantage of increased sales numbers. Until now, so-called national cars have not been able to develop in Indonesia. There have been several contenders — such as the Komodo, the Wasp, the GEA, the Marlip, the Maleo, the Wakaba and the Timor — but none has received serious attention from the government.

Suddenly, however, the Kiat Esemka made headlines after Joko “Jokowi” Widodo, the mayor of Surakarta, Central Java, announced that a car assembled by vocational high school students would be his official vehicle, instead of a branded luxury vehi...