New vehicle sales in Indonesia fell by 9.1% to 94,139 units in January, from 103,609 units in the same month of last year, according to data gathered by the Gaikindo industry association.

The continued weakness in the market reflects sluggish economic growth, estimated at just over 5% in 2014, high interest rates and weak exports. The Indonesian consumer continued to retrench following the fuel price and interest rate hikes last November.

Most of the fuel price hikes were reversed in January in response to falling international oil prices but the cost of food and goods have now followed suit. Bank of Indonesia this week reversed the 25 basis point interest rate hike made in November, cutting the benchmark rate to 7.5%.

The main auto brands made sharp volume losses in January with Toyota reporting a 24.3% fall in sales to 27,175 units; Suzuki 12,683 units (-13.6%); Mitsubishi/Fuso 11,365 units (-15.2%); and Daihatsu 14,536 units (-9.6%).

Honda outperformed the market, reporting a 75% increase in sales to 167,855 units, reflecting the recent launch of the HR-V model and strong year-on-year growth of the Mobilio compact MPV, compared with year-earlier sales when the model had just entered the market.