One of the latest battlegrounds for global carmakers is Indonesia, an emerging market seen by automakers as one of the last countries with untapped growth potential.
Here, Toyota and its affiliate Daihatsu Motor have taken hold of more than 50% of Indonesia’s auto market, a developing country where today car ownership is just 4% for a population of 250 million.
The rapid-rising middle-class is now ready to upgrade from the usual transportation vehicle that has just two wheels and is keen to make the switch to the more comfortable four-wheel ride. Global automakers, faced with the prospects of slowing demand in China and the United States (the first and second world markets), have increasingly turned their attention to countries such as Indonesia.
Family-oriented Indonesian buyers usually bought lower-range MPVs – dubbed ‘people movers’ locally – and for much of the past decade the Toyota and Daihatsu models (such as the Avanza and Daihatsu Xenia) were the only offers in the segment. The situation has changed with the arrival of the Honda Mobilio, a 7-seat MPV with a very low starting price – around $13,500. Since arriving in January, the model sold about 67,000 units, denting Toyota’s market share (which dropped from 54% just five years ago to 48.7% today).