Amid strong gross domestic product (GDP) growth in the past decade, Indonesia's per capita GDP has grown accordingly. In 2013, per capita GDP is estimated to have reached USD $3,816, thus having doubled from the year 2007 (USD $1,923). In the next five years, this figure is expected to hit the USD $5000-mark. However, the downside of looking at per capita GDP is that this statistic does not show income distribution inequality. Indonesia is characterized by increasing inequality in terms of income distribution evidenced by the country's increasing Gini ratio.

The Association of Indonesian Automotive Manufacturers (Gaikindo) stated that, despite several government policies that were expected to hurt domestic car sales, Indonesia broke last year's record in terms of sales. In 2013, a total of 1.2 million cars were sold on the Indonesian market (100,000 more than the previous record in 2012). Several government policies that limited car sales growth included higher prices of subsidized fuels (causing serious inflationary pressures thus curbing Indonesians' purchasing power) and higher interest rates due to Bank Indonesia's decision to raise its benchmark interest rate (BI rate) gradually from 5.75 percent (June 2013) to the current 7.50 percent. Another problem is the depreciating Indonesia rupiah exchange rate, which makes imports of car components much more expensive (the rupiah fell about 25 percent against the US dollar in 2013). As such, the government applauds expansion of the domestic car components industry.

Regarding Indonesia's exports of complete built units (CBU), an increase of 15 percent to 200,000 car units is expected in 2014. Last year, 173,000 CBUs, particularly multipurpose vehicles and sport utility vehicles, were exported to overseas markets.

In recent years, Indonesia has been transforming from a production hub (due to low wages) into a major sales market. With the influx of more and more investments in recent years (for the establishment of car factories), Indonesia aims to challenge Thailand to become the regional dominated car production hub. Honda Prospect Motor, Honda’s subsidiary in Indonesia, recently stated that it expects a rise in car sales of 86 percent to 170,000 cars in 2014 amid the release of its new Mobilio car and the establishment of its new factory in Karawang (West Java). This factory is its second manufacturing facility in Indonesia and has a production capacity of about 120,000 units per year (the company's total production capacity will accelerate to 200,000 units per year).

In 2013, Honda broke its own sales record in Indonesia by selling over 91,000 cars (a 32 percent increase from the previous year) and saw its market share rise to 7.5 percent in 2013. The company aims to expand market share to 14 percent in 2014 (Toyota is the dominating market leader in Indonesia, controlling over 50 percent of the car sales market).

 Month    Sold Cars 2012    Sold Cars 2013
 January           76,427           96,719
 February           86,486          103,279
 March           87,917           95,996
 April           87,144          102,257
 May           95,541           99,702
 June          101,746          104,278
 July          102,511          112,183
 August           76,445           77,962
 September          102,100          115,974
 October          106,754          112,039
 November          103,703          111,741
 December           89,456           94,069¹
 Total         1,116,230

¹ preliminary figures
Source: Gaikindo

     2008    2009    2010    2011     2012     2013¹     2014²
Indonesia's Car Sales
(number of car units)
 607,805  486,061  764,710  894,164 1,116,230
1,226,199 1,300,000

¹ preliminary figure
² future forecast
Source: Gaikindo

Further Reading:

Car Sales in Indonesia Expected to Rise in 2014 amid Political Elections
Popular Low Cost Green Car Boosts Indonesian Car Sales in 2013
Gaikindo Targets 10% Car Sales Growth in Indonesia for 2014
Indonesian Automotive Industry: Car Sales Expected to Hit Record in 2013