While in the mid-2000s Indonesia was an export market for many foreign motorcycle manufacturers, Southeast Asia's largest economy has managed to turn it around in recent years: Indonesia is now rising rapidly in the ranks of two-wheeler exporters (albeit coming from a very low base).

Sigit Kumala, Chairman of AISI's Commercial Department, is optimistic that the export figures in the January-February 2018 period are a good indicator for full-year 2018 motorcycle exports. However, he added that protectionism and other anti-trade regulations remain a concern. For example, recently Vietnam implemented new regulations that blocked exports of Indonesian cars.

Kumala said the two key factors that are pushing Indonesian motorcycle exports up significantly since 2017 are (1) Indonesia's competitive prices (especially now the rupiah has been weakening against the US dollar), and (2) the good quality of locally manufactured motorcycles (of which the standard increasingly matches global standards).

Prices of Indonesian motorcycles are competitive on the international market because local manufacturers/distributors do not differentiate between units sold on the domestic market or abroad, hence the price is the same.

However, Eddy Ang, Deputy General Manager Marketing at Yamaha Indonesia Motor Manufacturing, said the weakening rupiah in February 2018 did not have any impact on exports because export orders are usually made months in advance. Ang attributed the rising number of motorcycle exports at the start of 2018 to the rising number of export markets (which has risen from 25 to 35).

Yamaha is the clear leader in terms of exports, contributing 60.3 percent to total exports, followed by Honda (20 percent), Suzuki (11 percent), TVS (6 percent), and Kawasaki (3 percent). However, the biggest gainers in the January-February 2018 period were Kawasaki and Suzuki. These two brands saw their export performance surge by 256.2 percent (to 2,066 units) and 188.6 percent (to 8,291 units), respectively, in the January-February 2018 period.

January-February Motorcycle Exports Indonesia:

Brand Jan-Feb
Yamaha  31,680  46,273
Honda  16,443  15,315
Suzuki   2,873   8,291
TVS   4,308   4,755
Kawasaki    580   2,066
Total Exports 55,884 76,700

Source: AISI