Japan's Mitsubishi Corp says may invest in Indonesia auto plant

(Reuters) - Japan's Mitsubishi Corp is considering investing in a new car factory in Indonesia with its partners, the trading house said, as the country seeks to lure investments into manufacturing and reduce its reliance on volatile resources.
Mikio Sasaki, Mitsubishi Corp's senior advisor, met Indonesian president-elect Joko Widodo this week, a company spokesman said on Wednesday, adding that nothing had been decided yet.

Widodo, who will take office in October, is expected to bring in much-needed reform for business in Indonesia.
Indonesia's investment authority wants to attract more foreign investment into manufacturing and other value-added industries to wean the economy off the volatile resources sector, its chairman told Reuters last week.

Mitsubishi Motors Corp, owned 10.1 percent by Mitsubishi Corp, had previously said it may build a new plant in Indonesia. Its chief executive will visit the country next week, an individual familiar with the matter said.

The automaker currently manufactures commercial vehicles at a plant in Jakarta owned by Mitsubishi Corp and local partners.

"We are still considering (investing in a new plant) in a positive manner," a Mitsubishi Motors spokesman said.

Several companies from countries including Japan have expressed interest to invest in the automotive sector, Mahendra Siregar said, as Indonesia is set to overtake Thailand as Southeast Asia's biggest car market.

"The medium term plan of these manufacturing companies looking at Indonesia is producing close to 3 million cars by 2020 (from around 1.3 million this year)," he said.

"I think that is regardless of what happens in other countries because that would be a good combination of, let's say, 75 percent domestic and 25 percent exports."

The Jakarta Post reported earlier on Wednesday that Mitsubishi Corp may invest up to $1 billion to boost its Indonesian automotive business. The company spokesman said the $1 billion amount was incorrect. (Reporting by Yoko Kubota and Eveline Danubrata; Additional reporting by Yayat Supriyatna in JAKARTA; Editing by Elaine Hardcastle)


Eco-friendly car focused Tokyo Motor Show opens

The Tokyo Motor Show kicks off Wednesday with Japanese automakers showcasing their latest electronic technology and eco-friendly cars aimed at the growing low-emissions sector.
   The biennial event, which runs until December 1, will feature domestic makers of passenger cars, commercial vehicles and trucks alongside most of their European competitors.
   A total of 177 exhibitors, including parts suppliers, from a dozen countries are taking part in the event's 43rd edition.
   But US-based automakers, which have not attended since before the global financial crisis, are staying away again, as are South Korean producers, with the exception of Hyundai.
   Toyota, the world's biggest automaker, will be among the major firms at the show after recovering from a series of crises in recent years, including the global financial meltdown, Japan's quake-tsunami disaster and the safety recall of millions of vehicles.
  The big European automakers will be looking to boost their presence in the world's third-largest car market after China and the United States.
  However, foreign brands hold a miniscule share -- just 4.5 percent -- of a market that saw more than 5.0 million vehicles sold in Japan last year.
  That puny presence has long stoked anger among US and some European automakers, which say they have been effectively shut out of Japan through tariffs and other barriers. The simmering issue is a key obstacle in ongoing free-trade negotiations.
   Luxury German brands including Mercedes-Benz, BMW and Porsche, which have seen significant success in Japan, will be among this year's attendees, along with Audi, Volkswagen, Renault, Peugeot-Citroen, Britain's Land Rover and Sweden's Volvo.
  The show will focus heavily on high-tech offerings and environmental technologies as firms look to tap the burgeoning green-vehicle sector, seen as the next evolution of the global automotive industry.
  A pioneer of hybrid cars, Toyota is set unveil its latest fuel-cell concept car, with an expected commercial rollout two years away.
  The four-seater sedan has a range of 500 kilometres (310 miles) -- longer than previous versions -- and can be recharged in just three minutes through hydrogen gas tanks stored inside the vehicle.
  Fuel cell vehicles are considered the holy grail of green cars because they emit nothing but water vapour from the tailpipe and can operate on renewable hydrogen gas.
  Toyota's concept vehicle seeks to jump two key hurdles that analysts say have hindered consumer buying of eco-friendly cars, including electric vehicles -- range and re-fuelling infrastructure.
Relatively high prices have also dented demand.
However, purchases of low-emission vehicles are forecast to grow, with further technological advances in the field seen as crucial due to toughening emissions standards.


Ford opens first dealership in Yangon

YANGON - Ford Motor Co officially opened its first authorised dealership in Myanmar Friday, joining a rush to set up shop in the former junta-ruled country as the West rolls back sanctions.
A hostess poses for photographs during the official opening of the Ford Motor Co's first authorised dealership in Myanmar at the Ford Motor Showroom in Yangon on Friday. (EPA photo)
Despite price tags beyond the reach of many in the impoverished nation, the US auto giant said more than 1,500 customers had already visited the showroom since its ``soft launch'' two months ago.
Myanmar's population of 60 million and growing demand for cars ``excites us``, said Ford regional manager David Westerman.
``That's what is going to create that growth in the coming years and decades ahead,'' he told reporters.
Foreign investors are eagerly eyeing the resource-rich country following dramatic political and economic reforms since military rule ended in 2011.
Huge import taxes and international sanctions aimed at the previous regime had meant vehicles were too expensive for most people, but recent changes have seen a sharp increase in demand for four wheels.
Many cars on the roads in Myanmar are second-hand imported Japanese vehicles.
New imported cars remain expensive, with the US-made Ford Explorer starting from $105,000 (3.25 million baht).
The Thai-made Ford Single Cab Ranger, which is classified for commercial use and therefore not subject to the same level of import taxes, has a price tag of $22,000 and upwards.
Foreign auto makers are also looking to set up manufacturing facilities in the country.
Japan's Nissan Motor recently unveiled plans to launch production in Myanmar with its Malaysian partner Tan Chong Motors, following in the footsteps of Suzuki.

Credit by Bangkok post


Chevrolet posts slight increase in October car sales

Chevrolet sold 7,502 vehicles in Southeast Asia in October , representing a slight increase from September, as the carmaker continued to grow its market share in countries like Indonesia and Philippines, according to a company statement.

Chevrolet sales in the Philippines surged by 38 per cent during the month - a 66 per cent increase year-on-year with a total of 499 units sold - making October the highest- performing month in the brand’s history in the country.

Trailblazer led sales with 274 units, continuing its leadership in the country's SUV segment.

Chevrolet Indonesia sold 2,351 units in the month - a 30 per cent increase from September and a 490 per cent surge compared to the same month last year. The Spin continued to lead sales with 1,680 units, a 20 per cent rise from September.

The carmaker sold 4,231 vehicles in Thailand in October, led by the popular Colorado ( 1,956 units) , and 1,204 units of Sonic. Other models that contributed to a steady sales performance were the Trailblazer (406 units), Captiva (343 units), Cruze (180 units) and Spin (130 units).

"We continue to see a positive trend in Chevrolet’s market share throughout the region in the midst of what is probably the most competitive environment we’ve seen in a long time," said Gustavo Colossi, Vice President of Sales, Marketing and Aftersales, Chevrolet Sales Thailand and GM Southeast Asia Operations.

" We are particularly pleased with our performance in Indonesia and the Philippines with record-breaking growth due to popular models like the Trailblazer and the Spin," he said .

"Thailand continues to be a very competitive environment across the entire auto industry in all car segments. Chevrolet is confident that our fresh product line-up, combined with our innovative incentive programmes, will continue to attract new customers to the Chevrolet brand," he added.

Chevrolet recently announced the new ’Five-Year Worry Free’ campaign - a five-year maintenance-free campaign for the popular Cruze model, demonstrating Chevrolet’s commitment to customer service and satisfaction.
Credit by Thaiauto