Despite optimism about rising car exports in full-year 2016, the latest data from Gaikindo show that Indonesia's car exports in fact fell 17.9 percent (y/y) to 73,524 CBUs in the January-May 2016 period from 89,544 units in the same period one year earlier. However, this weak performance is mainly due to the delay in exports of the Toyota All New Fortuner and All New Kijang Innova - both manufactured by Toyota Motor Manufacturing Indonesia (TMMIN) - in the first quarter of the year (this delay was related to the release of the new Fortuner and Innova models). However, starting from March 2016 exports of both models have commenced.

The biggest export destination for Indonesian cars is the ASEAN region. However, Indonesia still lags far behind Thailand and Malaysia when it comes to car exports. These neighbors of Indonesia export more than 500,000 vehicles, each, per year. Gaikindo Chairman Sugiarto believes that Indonesia's car export performance can improve further provided that domestic manufacturers boost the production of the sport utility vehicle (SUV) and the sedan. For both these types there exists big foreign demand. Indonesia, however, mostly produces the multiple-purpose vehicle (MPV). It would also help if the Indonesian government cuts the luxury goods tax on cars, Sugiarto added. This tax makes prices of Indonesian cars expensive.

Currently, Indonesia's largest car exporters are Toyota Motor Manufacturing Indonesia and Astra Daihatsu Motor.

Indonesia targets to become the largest car manufacturer and exporter in the ASEAN region on the long term, surpassing Thailand (the Indonesian government selected the automotive industry as one of the nation's priority industries). In that context the Indonesian government prepared a tax allowance and tax holiday in order to attract (foreign) investment, specifically investment in the manufacturing of car components and spare parts. It will require the development of a domestic car component manufacturing industry in order to become the largest regional force in the automotive industry. Although nearly all the globe's major automotive companies have production facilities in Indonesia, most of these companies continue to import the components from the parent countries.

Read more: Overview of Indonesia's Automotive Industry

I Gusti Putu Suryawirawan, Director General of Metal, Machinery, Transportation Equipment and Electronic Industries at Indonesia's Industry Ministry, added that the quality of Indonesia's human resources in the automotive industry has to be improved as well. One of the reasons why Thailand achieved success in the automotive industry is the availability of highly-skilled human resources. To support the development of high-quality workers, the Indonesian government plans to open a education center for the production of car components this year.

The Finance and Industry Ministries of Indonesia will also discuss the possibility of cutting the luxury goods tax, specifically for sedan cars, in order to boost the export performance.

Indonesian Car Sales (CBU):

 Month    Sold Cars
   Sold Cars
   Sold Cars
   Sold Cars
   Sold Cars
 January      76,427      96,718     103,609      94,194      85,012
 February      86,486     103,278     111,824      88,740      88,250
 March      87,917      95,996     113,067      99,410      93,990
 April      87,144     102,257     106,124      81,600      84,600
 May      95,541      99,697      96,872      79,375      88,537
 June     101,746     104,268     110,614      82,172      91,471
 July     102,511     112,178      91,334      55,615
 August      76,445      77,964      96,652      90,537
 September     102,100     115,974     102,572      93,038
 October     106,754     112,039     105,222      88,408
 November     103,703     111,841      91,327      86,938
 December      89,456      97,706      78,802      73,264
 Total    1,116,230
   1,208,019    1,013,291


     2008    2009    2010    2011     2012     2013     2014     2015
Car Sales
(car units)
 607,805  486,061  764,710  894,164 1,116,230
1,229,916 1,208,019 1,013,291
Car Exports
(car units)
 100,982   56,669   85,769  107,932  173,368  170,907  202,273  207,691

Source: Gaikindo