Suzuki enters the green car market with Karimun Wagon R
Sep 24, 2013

Japanese car producer Suzuki will soon follow in the footsteps of other major car makers and produce a low-cost green car (LCGC) to meet the growing demand for the more affordable cars.

Davy Tulian, sales director of local subsidiary PT Suzuki Indomobil Sales, said that the company was still awaiting verification from the government in order to be able to begin production of the model, to be named the Karimun Wagon R.

He said he was optimistic that the new car would be launched some time after October.

“According to the information we’ve received, it [the verification process] takes around two months,” Davy said during the introduction of the car during the opening of the International Motor Show (IIMS) at the Jakarta International Expo in Kemayoran, Jakarta, on Thursday.

The annual automotive show with a theme of Smart Vehicle Mobility has 36 brands exhibiting a variety of cars and commercial vehicles.

Several other producers have also used the exhibition to unveil new models. Ford Motor Indonesia, for example, has unveiled its new Fiesta, while Honda and Daihatsu have introduced their concept cars.

Davy said the Karimun Wagon R, which would be produced in Suzuki’s plant in Tambun, Bekasi, West Java, was actually an old model that had been sold in Japan since 1993.

Apart from Japan, the model is also exported to Europe, India, and China. “Up to now, about 6.4 million units have been sold worldwide,” he added.

The 5-seater car which will come in three variants is powered by a 1,000 cc engine and manual transmission. “If there is demand for automatic transmission, we can work on that,” Suzuki Motor Corporation executive vice president Toshiro Suzuki said during the car’s launch.

Davy declined to be drawn on the price but said that it would be “about the same price as other LCGCs,” referring to the Daihatsu Ayla, which sells for between Rp 76.5 million (US$6,780) and Rp 106 million.

The production of the LCGCs is part of the government’s program to provide more affordable cars for the population.

Under a government regulation, signed by President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono on May 23, the producers of green automobiles will receive total tax reductions of up to 20 percent if they meet certain requirements.

The inexpensive cars with gasoline engines of up to 1,200 cc and diesel and semi-diesel engines of up to 1,500 cc should, for example, be able to run at least 20 kilometers per one liter of fuel.

Suzuki is the latest brand to launch its LCGC model after the Toyota Agya, Daihatsu Ayla, Honda Brio Satya and Datsun GO+, which is produced by Nissan.

Only Suzuki and Nissan have not revealed the prices of their eco cars. While the prices of the other LCGCs range from Rp 76.5 million up to Rp 120 million.

Suzuki operates three plants in Indonesia, one for engine and transmission, one for motorcycles and the third plant for car production. At the same time as introducing its LCGC, Suzuki also announced its plan to build another plant in the Greenland International Industrial Center in Cikarang at a cost of ¥93 billion (Rp 10.6 trillion).

There was no further information on what the plant would produce.

The company’s Indonesian sales totaled 103,000 units during the Jan-Aug period, up 38 percent compared to the same period last year. Meanwhile, Suzuki’s worldwide sales reached 1.78 million units in the first half of the year.