Sales of cars in August 2006 bucked the recent downward trend but year-on-year comparisons paint a still bleak picture. Some say the market will not recover until 2008.
Car sales in the previous seven months had been in the range of 21-26 thousand units per month while August's figure of 28,067 gave the automotive industry a little bounce. The figure represented a 28% increase on July's number of 21,891, the lowest recorded for the year so far.
However when compared to the 50,608 sales figure for August last year this month's data is no cause for celebration.
The cumulative number for 2006 stands at 199,595 as compared to 395,774 in January-August 2005, according to the Gabungan Industri Kendaraan Bermotor Indonesia (Gaikindo), the Indonesian Motor Car Industry Association.
One possible reason for the jump in sales can be attributed to the holding of the Indonesia International Motor Show (IIMS), which was held between 21st and 30th July, 2006.
The market leader in sales remains Astra Internasional, seller of Daihatsu, Isuzu, Nissan Diesel, Toyota (36% of total) and Peugeot models, with 53% or 14,872 units in August. Mitsubishi, in second place, sold 4,447 cars, and Suzuki sold 4,214. Trailing these was Honda at 2,507 sales.
Meanwhile, on the prospects for the industry, Astra International director Michael D Ruslim, says that the combination of increased investment in infrastructure through 2007, and a recovery in consumer spending power, will see the automotive industry regain some of the ground it has lost in recent times, likely by 2008.
He said, for the remainder of this year, Astra was pessimistic about growth prospects. Total sales of all cars in the country for the year he expected to be in the 300-320,000 range, lower than the Gaikindo estimate of 330-350,000. 2007 would see 10% growth in sales, he predicted.