Japan’s Honda Motor launched its first low-cost car for Indonesia’s booming automotive market Thursday, part of plans to more than quadruple sales in the country by 2016.
The launch of the Mobilia, a multi-purpose vehicle, comes as Honda builds its second plant in Indonesia to boost both production and sales.
Honda sold nearly 70,000 vehicles in Indonesia in 2012, and 62,000 in the first nine months of this year.
“Now we are going to enter the more mass-oriented market,” president-director of Honda’s Indonesian arm, Tomoki Uchida, told reporters.
“Our target is to achieve 300,000 unit sales in 2016,” he said.
With its second plant Honda plans to increase production capacity in Indonesia from 80,000 units to 200,000 by early next year.
Japanese carmakers hold a 95 per cent share of Indonesia’s market of around one million units annually in recent years.
Honda holds an 8.4 per cent share, far behind Toyota with 40 per cent.
Toyota has stayed ahead with its multi-purpose vehicles, popular with Indonesians who often travel with large families and prefer high elevation to cope with floods during the wet season.
A burgeoning middle class is moving up from motorbikes to low-cost family cars, with multi-purpose vehicles representing more than 30 per cent of the total market.
Indonesia, with a population of 240 million, has become a target for automakers as sales slow in developed nations and as its people become wealthier.
The car market is expected to exceed Thailand’s and become the biggest in Southeast Asia next year.