The Jakarta Post
According to a new global survey, Indonesians rank among those with the greatest desire to own an automobile ' a perceived success symbol.
The desire of non-car owners to own a car in Indonesia is the third-strongest in the world, with the aspiration index standing at 96 percent.
The figure, beaten only by India and Brazil, is much higher compared to the global average of 77 percent, the survey indicated.
A similar trend is found among automobile owners who want to replace their car with a later model.
'Purchase intent in Indonesia is really high. With rising income and the growing middle class, there are many more people who want to buy cars,' said Anil Antony, the executive director of consumer insights at Nielsen Indonesia, which conducted the survey.
Car sales in Indonesia, Southeast Asia's largest economy, are projected to top 1.2 million units this year, overtaking Thailand as the largest regional automotive market.
Strong desire for car ownership among Indonesian respondents can be linked to long commuting hours and the less pragmatic reason of social status, according to the survey.
At least 67 percent of car owners considered their automobile a symbol of success, as do 51 percent of non-car owners.
Moreover, around 91 percent of non-car owners in Indonesia believe it's embarrassing to not own a car.
This figure is far higher than that in other Southeast Asian economies, such as Malaysia (33 percent), Thailand (21 percent) and the Philippines (21 percent).
Benny Wuryanto, head of the automotive industry division at Nielsen Indonesia, said cars had become an increasingly affordable luxury for Indonesian consumers given rising incomes and less-expensive vehicles.
'People now can now realize their aspiration to buy a car and that will boost their social status,' he said.
Meanwhile, Anil said that in the future, automobile sales would be driven by types of car strongly associated with 'affordable luxury' status, such as low multi-purpose vehicles and low-cost green cars, right now priced at around Rp 150 million and Rp 100 million respectively.
'The key thing for manufacturers to understand is not to push it on the price aspect.
As we clearly see, people want to have a car for social status. Of course, the functional need is there, but the social status is also important,' he said.
The online Nielsen survey included 503 Indonesian respondents out of more than 30,000 Internet respondents in 60 countries across the Asia-Pacific, Europe, Latin America, the Middle East, Africa and North America.
It was carried out between Aug. 14 and Sept. 6 last year.
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