New vehicle sales in Indonesia rose by 4.8% to 48,329 units in November, from 46,119 units a year earlier, according to data released by distributor PT Toyota Astra Motor.

Market leader Toyota reported a 17.1% year-on-year drop in volumes during the month to 17,260 units, while Mitsubishi sales rose by 8.4% to 7,406 units; Suzuki 4,714 units (+17.8%); and Honda 4,070 units (+48.5%).

After a very weak first half, the domestic vehicle market is showing signs of recovery as the economy begins to gather strength. Low inflation, helped in part by a strengthening rupiah this year, has allowed Bank of Indonesia to keep inter-bank lending rates at pro-growth levels of 6.5%. The government has also urged car financing companies to pass more of the recent rate cuts to consumers in recent months.

Average monthly volumes began to improve in June from very depressed first-quarter levels. Cumulative sales for the first eleven months of the year amounted to 438,025 units, almost 23% lower than the 568,154 units sold in the same period of 2008.

Tony Pugliese

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