Thu, 22 Apr 2010

From: The Jakarta Globe

By Yohanes Obor
Vehicle sales surged during the first quarter of 2010, rising 73 percent from the same quarter last year, as the economic recovery gained momentum and consumers and businesses found themselves with more money and improved confidence in the future.

Sales of commercial trucks rose 87 percent, indicating that investment and activity in the commodity and infrastructure sectors were gaining momentum.

A total of 173,985 vehicles were sold during the first quarter, up from 100,260 during the first quarter last year, according to data released by the Indonesian Automotive Industry Association (Gaikindo) on Wednesday.

As a result, Gaikindo has raised its target for 2010 sales from 550,000 units to 650,000.

Gaikindo said sales of commercial trucks reached 44,091 during the first quarter.

Elvina Afny, the head of domestic marketing at PT Astra Daihatsu Motor, told the Jakarta Globe that a recovery in truck sales drove much of the recovery in overall vehicle sales.

“Last year consumers’ intention to buy trucks decreased as the economy remained uncertain, but they started buying them this year as the economy improved,” Elvina said.

Bagus Hananto, an analyst at PT NISP Sekuritas, said in a report on Wednesday that car sales would continue their upward trajectory in the coming quarters, saying low interest rates and an improving economy would fuel the growth.

Bank Indonesia is widely expected to keep its benchmark interest rate at 6.5 percent while inflation remains contained. The government has proposed lifting its official forecast for economic growth to as high as 5.8 percent for 2010. The economy grew 4.5 percent last year.

Meanwhile, the Indonesian Motorcycle Industry Association (AISI) said motorcycle sales increased by 33 percent to 1.66 million units in the first quarter, from 1.2 million units a year earlier.

“The increase in people’s purchasing power and the improving economy have increased demand for motorcycles this year,” AISI chairman Gunadi Sindhuwinata said.

Yamaha led the market with 46.1 percent of bikes sold, followed closely by Honda with 45.6 percent.

“Yamaha’s achievement was driven by its intensive promotion strategy that managed to win consumer attention to its products,” Bagus said.

However, he said, Honda managed to regain the top position last month as the brand posted 19.9 percent month-on-month sales growth.

Julius Aslan, marketing director of PT Astra Honda Motor, said, “The sales growth in March was mainly supported by the sales of two types of Honda after the company introduced updated models in February.”