Hondas BR-V

Honda's BR-V

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The 2015 Gaikindo Indonesia International Auto Show got underway yesterday at the shiny new Indonesian Convention and Exhibition centre in BSD, a new commercial centre some 30km west of central Jakarta. Tony Pugliese was there.

Automakers put on a brave face on what is turning out to be a bad year for the market, as slowing economic growth and high interest rates continued to pile pressure on the Indonesian consumer. The rupiah has weakened by 12% against the US dollar since the beginning of the year.

New vehicle sales have fallen by 21% year-to-date and the industry association now expects the market drop to as low as 950,000 units this year, from over 1.2 million units in 2014.

New model launches at the show were fewer and harder to come by than last year, but some important replacements and upgrades have been made that could help stabilize the market.

Toyota's main new model launch was the new Avanza, which Just-Auto covered separately last week. This is by far the country's best-selling model and is still produced by Astra Daihatsu Motor alongside the Daihatsu Xenia, which is basically same model.

Toyota now supplies its own engines for the Avanza, the new Dual VVTi 1.3L and 1.5L units which it assembles at a facility it recently built some 70km east of Jakarta. Both the Toyota Avanza and Daihatsu Xenia have new front ends and tailgates, including new lighting, and upgraded electronic equipment.

Toyota also launched the hybrid version of the new Alphard model at the show. The company confirmed plans to launch the replacement of the important Innova mid-sized MPV in December. It will be the first full replacement of this model in over ten years and should also help stabilise sales.

Honda displayed the new BR-V seven-seater MPV at the show, to be sold alongside the existing Mobilio (more on the BR-V). It is scheduled to go into production in January 2016, with deliveries starting in March. It has a monthly sales target is 500 units for Indonesia.

Although essentially the same size as the Mobilio, powered by a 1.5L engine, the BR-V offers much higher spec standards, including better suspension, more plush interior trim and other additional equipment. Prices are expected to start at around IDR230m.

Suzuki responded to the mounting MPV challenge with a face lift for the Ertiga, which now sports a new front-end and tailgate.

Among the importers, Ford launched the new Focus compact passenger car and the new Everest SUV, which were displayed alongside its new Ranger pickup truck. Mitsubishi's new Triton pickup truck, which it imports from Thailand, also went on sale at the show.

Volkswagen's launched the new Polo sub-compact model powered by a 1.2L turbo engine, which it imports from India.

There was nothing new from Mazda and Nissan, while the Datsun Go was given a mild facelift.

The luxury brands were very prominent at the show, especially at the high end. Mercedes-Benz' centerpieces were the AMG GTS sports car and the Maybach S-class luxury saloon. Further down the pecking order, the newly launched face-lifted E-class was on display.

Jaguar Land Rover launched the Discovery Sport SUV at the show, while Audi's key launch was the new Q7 SUV.

BMW made a big splash at the show with its own hall for the BMW and Mini brands. Its key launches were the face-lifted 3-series and the seven-seater 218i Grand Tourer, targeted at the top-end of Indonesia's very substantial MPV segment. BMW also launched the 218i 5-seater Active Tourer.

See also: 

2016 JAKARTA SHOW: World premieres