Three Indonesian auto makers have reported strong vehicle sales in June, showing robust demand by consumers and allaying some fears that a new down-payment rule would hurt the industry.
Honda Prospect Motor, the distributor of Honda Motor in Indonesia; Suzuki Indomobil Sales, the distributor of Suzuki Motor; and Nissan Motor Indonesia announced their June sales numbers in separate statements on Wednesday.
Honda Prospect Motor said its car sales reached 7,410 units in June, marking the auto makerâ€™s best month this year. Car sales grew 10 percent in May and were more than three times higher than the June 2011 sales figure of 2,165 units.
Suzuki Indomobil Sales reported selling 12,121 cars in June, a rise of 25 percent from its May sales figures and 61 percent higher than the same month last year.
Nissan Motor Indonesia said it sold 5,925 cars in June, its second-best monthly sales total so far this year. Those high sales numbers pushed the company to a record six-month sales tally.
Car and cement sales are seen as leading economic indicators for Indonesia.
Analysts said robust demand by Indonesians had been fueled by an accelerating economy, allowing consumers to shrug off a new banking regulation designed to tamp down on high-risk lending.
â€śSince the beginning, I believed that the down-payment regulation would not have much impact on car sales, but more on motorcycle sales,â€ť said Adrian Joezer, an analyst with Mandiri Sekuritas in Jakarta. â€śOur peopleâ€™s purchasing power is relatively strong and stable, so a down payment of 30 percent shouldnâ€™t be a problem if they need to buy a car.â€ť
The new banking rule, which the government put into effect on June 15, requires consumers to make a minimum 30 percent down payment for new car purchases. The ruling was intended to improve prudent lending practices at Indonesian banks.
The Association of Indonesian Automotive Industries (Gaikindo) has reduced its sales target for the year to 850,000 cars from an initial forecast of 1 million on concern about the regulation.
Despite the rosy sales figures, the three firms were dwarfed by Astra International, Indonesiaâ€™s leading automaker, which reported selling 51,002 units in May alone, claiming 53 percent of all car sales in the country during that month.
Honda said on Wednesday that its Jazz hatchback was the firmâ€™s biggest seller in June, accounting for 32 percent of all sales. Honda sold 10,038 units of the hatchback in Indonesia between January and June.
â€śThe supply chain of Honda has returned to normal after Thailandâ€™s floods,â€ť Adrian said, adding that the stabilized production and supply chain had enabled Honda to meet strong demand.
The newly launched Honda CR-V also helped push up sales, the company said. â€śThe launching of new models from Honda is refreshing the automotive market in Indonesia and helped increase Hondaâ€™s sales,â€ť said Jonfis Fandy, marketing director at Honda Prospect Motor.
Suzuki Indomobil Sales said that its new Ertiga model was key in pushing the auto makerâ€™s sales figures past the 10,000 mark in June. The Ertiga was the companyâ€™s biggest seller in Indonesia last month, with 4,402 units sold.
Gaikindo is scheduled to release official national car sales numbers by the second week of July.