Indonesia’s automotive industries have their own take on the tug-of-war between the central government and regional government on the introduction of the so-called low-cost green cars in the country.
Johnny Darmawan, president director of Toyota Astra Motor, the sole distributor of Toyota cars in Indonesia, said the country needed better traffic management.
“Let’s not try to find a scapegoat in this matter,” said Johnny, who is the organizing committee’s chairman for this year’s Indonesia International Motor Show. “People stop and park wherever they like. But I salute Jokowi and Ahok’s efforts to clean up some of the roads in Jakarta,” he added.
Johnny said law enforcement should be improved. “I can guarantee, if all of us were to take a driving a test, we would fail to get a license. People forget to put on their safety belts, or they drive with only one hand, none of which are in accordance to safety standards,” he said.
Johnny, who is also deputy chairman of the Indonesian Automotive Industry Association (Gaikindo), suggested that the central government implements limits on the age of cars on the roads. In Japan, for example, cars older than 10 years are prohibited.
He denied that the LCGCs did not support the government’s policy to reduce the use of low-octane gasoline, which is heavily subsidized by the government.
“In the manual, it is specifically written not to use Premium gasoline. Of course we cannot penalize buyers who use Premium,” he said.
Astra and Japanese car manufacturer Toyota Motor introduced their low-cost and environmentally friendly vehicles — Toyota Agya and Daihatsu Ayla — recently.
Sales of the new models are forecast at more than 30,000 units this year. The two types are claimed to qualify for the government’s low-cost green car policy, which excludes luxury tax on such cheap and environmentally friendly cars by between 25 and 100 percent.
The Agya and Ayla, with a price tag below Rp 100 million ($8,950), are developed and produced by Astra Daihatsu Motor, Daihatsu’s joint venture with Astra International in Indonesia. Daihatsu is part of the Toyota group.
Zulkifli, a professional who works with Kompas Gramedia Group, said he supported the government policy in the introduction of low cost cars.
“It helps lower-income people buy cars,” Zulkifli said. “We often see families riding on bikes with two children. That’s extremely dangerous. If they can save and buy a cheap car, why not? It is the traffic jam problem that must be solved not selling cheap cars that must be stopped,” said Zulkifli who stopped using a motorcycle in 2009 and now drives a Toyota Avanza.
Sudirman MR, president director of Astra Daihatsu Motor, said the company would comply with any change in LCGC regulations.
Prijono, president director of Astra International, the biggest automotive distributor in Indonesia, did not respond to requests for comment.
This year’s motor show, hosted by Gaikindo, starts today and runs until Sept. 29.
Among the cars that will feature at the show, are Nissan’s new Datsun Go and Datsun Go+, two low-cost green models that will be on sale for less than Rp 100 million.
Johnny from Astra estimated that there could be around 380,000 visitors at the motor show.