General Motors Indonesia, the local unit of the Detroit-based firm, is boosting its presence in the country’s rapidly growing auto market with a new model designed to appeal to a large swath of buyers.
GM has struggled with unique market characteristics that so for have kept its sales low in Indonesia. Its answer is the Spin, a multi-purpose seven-seater that will be assembled in Indonesia and Brazil.
The Spin was designed to accommodate market demand for a car that is affordable, has a large passenger capacity and offers good fuel economy, the car’s designer said on Thursday at the Indonesia International Motor Show in Jakarta.
Matthew Noone, a Brazil-based designer responsible for the Spin’s look, said that GM took cues from popular models such as the Toyota Avanza and Daihatsu Xenia, when designing the Spin.
“I’ve been here for several days and have seen many Avanzas,” said Noone, GM’s exterior design director in Brazil.
Hoping to replicate the success of their competitors, GM hired Noone to develop a car that appeals to Indonesians. His team developed the seven-seat MPV.
“Obviously the target here is the Avanza. We really want to make something that isn’t just a minivan, something that isn’t just old and boring,” Noone said. “We want to have a car that has a lot of personality to it and reaches toward a crossover-type design.”
Noone added that the Spin project has gone through a series of tests to ensure “it really is a world-class car.” The vehicle will be sold in Thailand, the Philippines, Middle East countries and any other region where MPV demand is high.
GM’s assembly plant in Bekasi, which has a capacity of 40,000 units a year, will supply Southeast Asia and the Middle East, according to a company statement.
“We spent a lot of time developing the Spin, presenting the car to Indonesia and to Thailand to get the feedback,” Noone said. “We will show sketches and we will get feedback like, ‘No, the design doesn’t work for Indonesia.’
“That way we’ll know we need to change it. We work that way, so I think we will have a very successful vehicle because we are getting a lot of strong inputs from this region.”
The Spin bears a resemblance to Nissan’s Grand Livina, a Japanese model that does well in Indonesia.
“I think they’re both similar in size and volume, it’s easy to find similarities but at the same time it’s easy to find the differences,” he said. “But there are a lot of elements in the design that I think are very Chevrolet. The sheet metal is very expressive. All the surfaces on the car are designed to catch lights. So when you see the car outside it really has an expressive, muscular design.”
The Bekasi plant is planning to begin production of the Spin by the second quarter of 2013.
GM has been building its portfolio of cars offered in Indonesia with the recent deliveries of its TrailBlazer SUV and Colorado mini-truck at its 34 dealerships here.