For many decades Japanese cars have been dominating car sales in Indonesia and this situation is unlikely to change drastically in the years ahead. Various Western car brands tried to compete with their Japanese counterparts on this market but failed, and therefore some have shut their factories.

Read more: Why Do Japanese Cars Dominate Indonesia's Automotive Market?

Chinese car manufacturers, on the other hand, still have the spirit and are expanding to Indonesia. Sokonindo Automobile is the latest example. This company is a joint venture between Hong Kong's Sokon Group Company Limited and Indonesia's Kaisar Motorindo Industri. The joint venture has already invested USD $150 million in the construction of a car factory. Besides supplying the domestic market of Indonesia, part of output will be exported abroad, particularly to other Southeast Asian nations. As such, Indonesia has become the company's production hub for this region.

Alexander Barus, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) at Sokonindo Automobile, said - considering being a newcomer in Indonesia - the company will first focus on the quality of the vehicles. The vehicles will be of international standard. However, they also need to be competitively priced to be attractive for the Indonesian consumer. Sokonindo Automobile will manufacture the sport utility vehicle (SUV), multipurpose vehicle (MPV) as well as light commercial vehicles at its Indonesian plant.

Currently, Sokonindo Automobile has 30 dealers in Indonesia. However, the company targets to expand this network to 150 dealers in the next three years.

Indonesian Industry Minister Airlangga Hartarto is pleased to see Sokonindo Automobile establishing its production base in Indonesia. Their manufacturing plant is another positive step in the development of Indonesia's automotive industry.

Indonesian Car Sales (CBU):

Month Sold Cars
Sold Cars
Sold Cars
Sold Cars
Sold Cars
January   96,718  103,609   94,194   85,002   86,324
February  103,278  111,824   88,740   88,208   95,159
March   95,996  113,067   99,410   94,092  102,336
April  102,257  106,124   81,600   84,770   89,623
May   99,697   96,872   79,375   88,567   94,091
June  104,268  110,614   82,172   91,488   66,370
July  112,178   91,334   55,615   61,891   84,905
August   77,964   96,652   90,537   96,282   96,466
September  115,974  102,572   93,038   92,541   87,645
October  112,039  105,222   88,408   92,106   94,461
November  111,841   91,327   86,938  100,365
December   97,706   78,802   73,264   86,547
Total 1,229,916
1,208,019 1,013,291 1,061,859

Source: Gaikindo