Astra International, which sells Toyota, Daihatsu, Isuzu, UD Trucks and Peugeot cars, sold 6.6 percent more car units in Q1-2013 than in Q1-2012. Non-Astra car sales, however, rose 33.7 percent from 105,504 units in Q1-2012 to 141,039 in Q1-2013, particularly due to significantly increased sales of Honda and Suzuki cars.

Honda has expanded its position in the Indonesian automotive industry with its affordable Brio hatchback subcompact (with a price tag of about IDR 160 million or USD $16,500). Its popularity led to a 228.8 percent increase in Honda sales in Q1-2013 (YoY). Honda Prospect Motor is the sole distributor of Honda units in Indonesia. Other Honda cars include Honda Jazz, Honda CR-V, Honda City and Honda Civic.

Suzuki's sales jumped over 70 percent compared to last year due to popularity of its latest family car Ertiga.

Astra International's Car Sales:

     Q1-2013    Growth (yoy)
   104,073           8.4%
Daihatsu     42,197           5.2%
Isuzu      8,037           0.4%
UD Trucks
       496         -50.5%
Peugeot         67         -18.3%

 Non–Astra International Car Sales:

     Q1-2013    Growth (yoy)
    39,575           8.2%
Suzuki     36,237          70.4%
Nissan     16,644          -4.2%
    26,772        228.8%
Others     21,811           1.6%

Source: Astra International

Indonesia has been experiencing an unique and important chapter in its car industry history: the country is transforming from a mere production hub into a major car sales market. Low production costs (due to low wages and cheap land) made Indonesia attractive as a production hub, but with GDP per capita reaching over USD $3,500 in 2012, the country's rapidly increasing middle class has turned into a significant consumer force. Domestic car sales reached a record-high level of over 1.1 million car units in 2012, and has recently attracted increased foreign investment in the nation's car industry.

Last year, Indonesia's central bank tried to limit growth in domestic car sales by introducing a new rule that raised the required minimum down payment for the purchase of automobiles from 10 to 25 percent of the price for commercial cars, and to 30 percent for passenger cars. As around 65 percent of car purchases in Indonesia are made through loans it was estimated to limit car sales. However, its impact was limited as last year recorded record-breaking car sales of over 1.1 million units. Another issue that can impact negatively on Indonesian car sales in the near future is the possible price hike on subsidized fuel, which is currently hotly debated in Indonesia's government circles and media.

The association of Indonesian Automotive Industries (Gaikindo) predicts that car sales in 2013 will be similar to last year's car sales of 1.1 million units.

   Q1-2012  Q1-2013
  Growth (yoy)
Indonesia's Car Sales
(number of car units)
 250,830  295,465       17.8%
   January  February
Indonesia's Car Sales 2013
(number of car units)
  96,705   103,284   95,936
     2008    2009    2010    2011    2012
Indonesia's Car Sales
(number of car units)
 607,805  486,061  764,710  894,164 1,116,230

Source: Gaikindo

The graph below shows that in the last 11 years there have been two drops in the amount of car sales in Indonesia. In 2006, car sales fell 40 percent due to the government's decision to raise the (heavily subsidized) fuel price, and in 2009 - amid the global crisis.

Astra International Indonesia Investments Richard van der Schaar