Low key, with few new high-volume model launches

Carrying "Beyond Mobility" as theme, GIIAS 2018 presents the latest range of vehicle products for Indonesias market

Carrying "Beyond Mobility" as theme, GIIAS 2018 presents the latest range of vehicle products for Indonesia's market

A rather low-key 26th Gaikindo Indonesia International Auto Show (GIIAS) kicked off last week, despite the attendance of the country's President Joko Widodo, with little in the way of important new model launches capable of firing up lacklustre consumer spending in the country.

The ASEAN region's largest vehicle market expanded by just 3.8% at 553,779 units in the first half of 2018, according to member data compiled by the industry association and most of this growth came from the commercial vehicle sector.

Sales of medium and heavy trucks rebounded by over 35% to 54,000 units in this period from a low base, while sales of passenger vehicles were just 0.3% higher at 424,000 units.

In view of the recent sharp depreciation of the local currency, which is down by almost 8% against the US dollar so far this year, and a series of interest rates hikes, the second half of the year is shaping up to be a lot more challenging.

Dealers are currently offering hefty discounts and cash-backs on most models to help keep the market afloat and this can only intensify in the short term.

Japanese

The country's leading brand, Toyota, had no new models to launch at the show. The C-HRSUV, which went on sale in May, and the new Yaris small hatchback which went on sale in March, both took centre stage.

Hybrid models such as the Mirai and Prius were also on display as well as a couple of advanced car concepts, none of which are expected to make it to this market any time soon.

There was certainly nothing on offer by Toyota that could reverse its plunging market share, like a much-needed redesign for its best-selling Avanza compact MPV - which has slipped behind the Mitsubishi Xpander over last year. Despite speculation that a model changeover was imminent, it looks like consumers may have to wait another year...

Daihatsu's main focus at the show wascar customisation, particularly for the Xeniacompact MPV which like the Toyota Avanza is beginning to look a bit aged. The new Sirion small car, which went on sale at the beginning of the year, was also on display.

Honda launched its "all-new"Brio small car, with a heavily-revised body, as well as a face-lifted H-RV compact SUV. Honda, like Toyota, has also lost significant market share in the last year.

Mitsubishi Motors also had nothing new, other than yet another new variant of the Pajero Sport. But the company is still basking in the success of the Xpander, which has pipped the Avanza as the country's best-selling model so far this year.

Suzuki has also outperformed this year, helped by the launch of the all-new Ertiga compact MPV in May – which took centre-stage alongside a new concept based on the old Jimmy SUV.

Nissan launched the new Thai-made Terra SUV, based on the Navara pick-up truck, which will slot above its existing X-Trail SUV model. The Terra is available with the same 2.5L diesel engine fitted to the pickup model.

Mazda launched two face-lifted models, the CX3 and the Mazda 6, both imported from Japan.

New SUVs

Hyundai launched its new Santa Fe SUV at the show, as part of the model's global roll-out, while GM launched the all-new US-made Chevrolet Trailblazer SUV.

Chinese manufacturers also targeted the SUV segment, with Wuling showcasing a new model that will slot in above the Cortez when it is launched next year, while DFSK (DongFeng) launched its locally-made Glory580 model.

Luxury segment

BMW took the lead in the luxury segment with the launch its new German-made X7 SUV and also opened its order book for its new 8-series luxury sedan.  Audi also launched its new luxury A8 sedan at the show, alongside the RS5 high-performance coupe.

Lexus began selling the newly launched ES Hybrid at the show and also previewed its UX hybrid SUV, which goes on sale next year. By contrast Mercedes-Benz had no new model launches, despite its significant presence at the show.