The star of the show no doubt was the new Mitsubishi Xpander compact seven-seater MPV, which made its world debut

The star of the show no doubt was the new Mitsubishi Xpander compact seven-seater MPV, which made its world debut

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The Gaikindo Indonesian International Auto Show kicked off on Thursday at the International Convention Centre in the BSD satellite city just outside Jakarta. 

Electric vehicles targeted

Industry minister Airlangga Hartarto was there to open the show and give his vision of the future of the country's automotive industry. With auto sector investment hitting IDR16.5trn (US$1.24bn) in the first half of 2017, Pak Hartarto was upbeat about the medium term growth prospects by predicting production to rise to 2m units by 2025 from just under 1.2m last year.

He also hinted at a shift towards more environment friendly policies, with 20% of targeted output in 2025 expected to comprise electric vehicles. In a country where the minimum emission standard is still Euro 2, mainly due to the poor standard of locally available fuel, this would be a major and hugely positive change of direction.

Competition rises in compact MPV segment

The star of the show no doubt was the new Mitsubishi Xpander compact seven-seater MPV, which made its world debut on Thursday. Based on the XM concept model, this is an attractively designed family vehicle with a quality interior which will no doubt give segment leader Toyota Avanza a good run for its money.

It is fitted with Mitsubishi's MIVEC 1.5 litre engine and launch prices range between IDR190m-IDR246m (US$14,100-$18,200) - dead on the Avanza price range. The Xpander is produced at Mitsubishi's newly-built factory in Bekasi, a satellite city east of Jakarta, and current production capacity for the model is around 5,000 units per month. 

Going by the level of interest shown at the show, capacity is expected to be fully utilised for some time - especially as the vehicle will also be exported to other markets in the region. Capacity will probably be expanded next year with the addition of a second shift with Nissan also set to sell the model under its own badge – probably from the end of next year.

Also on display was the Mitsubishi Pajero Sport, which the company began producing at the new Bekasi plant in April to replace imports from Thailand.

Chinese-owned SAIC GM Wuling Motor Indonesia displayed its newly launched Confero seven-seater compact MPV which it produces at a newly built plant in Cikarang - 70km east of Jakarta.

This model, also fitted with a 1.5 litre engine, and with manual transmission only, comes in at the budget end of the market with launch prices ranging between IDR130-165m. 

New imported medium MPVs

ith Toyota and Daihatsu having replaced their Avanza and Xenia compact MPVs two years earlier, competition in this all import vehicle segment has just been stepped up a gear or two.

Toyota launched the new Voxy medium MPV, basically a smaller version of the Alphard, which it imports from Japan. It also previewed the CH-R compact SUV, but this is not expected to be available here until next year.

Honda's main new model launch was the new 2.4 litre Odyssey medium MPV, which it also imports from Japan, while Kia targeted this segment with its new Grand Sedona as well as the new Sportage SUV – both of which are imported from South Korea. Hyundai displayed an updated H1 minibus with electric sliding doors on both sides.

Suzuki launched the new Baleno compact saloon at the show, which follows on from the launch of the Ignis compact cross-over vehicle in April, both of which are imported from India, while Mazda launched the Japan-made new CX-5 SUV.

Nissan had nothing new to display at the show other than pushing its intelligent mobility concepts and its low-emission e-power concept vehicle which uses a small petrol engine to power the electric drive motors. 

Similarly Daihatsu's only newbie was the DN Multisix MPV concept which is a taste of things to come from Indonesia's largest vehicle manufacturer.

Developments in the luxury segment 

There was a fair amount of activity in the luxury segment including the relaunch of Volvo in this market after a decade's absence. A new dealership is scheduled to open in Jakarta in November and pre-selling activity kicked off at the show with the XC90 SUV expected to be the brand's best seller by a large margin.

No doubt the most important luxury segment launch was the new BMW 5-series, at least in terms of sales volumes, while Mini also attracted attention in their exclusive corporate hall with the new Countryman. 

Audi launched the new A3 and Q5 models at the show, while Mercedes-Benz brought in the E300 coupe and the infinitely sexy AMG GTR for a cool IDR5.6bn (US$415,000) before tax. Lexus replaced its NX300 and LS500 models and made available for sale 10 units of its image lifting LC500 sports coupe.