By on July 2, 2013


Reuters takes a look at GM’s attempts to turn around their decades-long slog in Indonesia, with this gem highlighting the nature of their struggle.

“We started in Indonesia in 1938. We have been so successful, we have seven-tenths of a point of market share in 75 years. Are you (kidding) me?” Tim Lee, head of GM’s international operations, said in an interview. “That is not constancy of purpose.”

While GM has been in the country since before WWII, it’s only now that they have the kind of product that Indonesians actually want to buy. The Chevrolet Spin, above, will take on cars like the Toyota Avanza, Indonesia’s perennial best-seller, and other compact MPVs that dominate the Indonesian auto market.

Indonesia is a particularly enticing market for many auto makers. It is the most populous nation in Southeast Asia and the largest economy in the region as well. It also has one of the lowest rates of car ownership, with 32 vehicles per 1,000 people, compared to 132 per 1,000 people in Thailand and 300 per 1,000 people in Malaysia. The locally built Spin should at least give GM a fighting chance in the market, but you have to wonder if they’ll be able to achieve anything they couldn’t have already done in the last 75 years.


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22 Comments on “QOTD: GM’s Indonesian Foray...”

  • avatar

    Daewoo, that’s who.

    Seriously though while it looks like an untapped market there’s got to be a reason for such low car ownership. Mopeds preferred perhaps?

  • avatar

    Well no wonder if their selling that ugly thing pictured, is it suppose to look like an insect?

    • 0 avatar
      sunridge place

      Have you seen the Toyota Avanza which is the best selling vehicle in that market?

      • 0 avatar

        Oh hello…

        Burn it with fire what is wrong with these people!!!

        But I still agree to 28’s comment, it’s just a shock it could get high sales.

        But I’m sure the OneFord plan would be perfect here

      • 0 avatar

        I have and its slightly less ugly.

      • 0 avatar

        I like the looks of both this and the Avanza.

        Everyone is missing the boat by thinking America shouldn’t be getting tall, simple “3rd world vehicles”.

        Thank God for our nearest equivalent… Grand Caravan American Value Package! Only wish you could get a 4-cyl. in it.

        Sergio knows what we’ve been reduced to.

        • 0 avatar

          Have you driven the Pentastar Grand Caravan? Rented one a couple weeks ago and by golly, that thing can hustle.

          • 0 avatar

            Yes, my son has a 2 month-old one… drive it every chance I get. Marvellous hauler with stow & go seats. Best visibility of anything I’ve driven that wasn’t a single cab pickup. It’s my next vehicle when things at work sort themselves out.

            But I was born without the gene that appreciates hustle. I’d trade the oomph for better MPGs.

  • avatar

    These types of cars, as far as I know, are based on compact or sub compact delivery vans. Kinda like making an MPV out of a Ford Transit Connect but much cheaper.
    They are popular in less economically privileged countries because of their low cost, space, durability, utility and economy.
    The rest of the world does, very much, want what Americans want but they mostly just can’t afford it or can’t justify the products. Perhaps GM has actually worked this out, this time.

  • avatar

    If you’ve ever been to Jakarta, you would know that owning and driving a car there is a punishment, not a privilege.

    Hence the low percentage of car ownership.

    • 0 avatar

      Well, sure, it’s one of the most densely populated cities in the world, with tens of thousands of people per square mile. A neighbor was born there and his father visited a few years ago, saying there was three times the population there than when they left in 1960. That’s explosive growth, so I imagine the road system is totally inadequate even for mass transit. Jakarta might be the worst possible example.

  • avatar

    The Avanza is, by all subjective metrics, a terrible vehicle. The chassis rigidity is so-so, it’s a tall, front-engined rear-wheel drive van with a live rear axle and tippy dynamics. It’s tinny and unrefined. The interior of the old one (released in the 00’s) came straight off an 80’s Corolla. The seats are thin foam blocks wedged onto the seat frames. The new one is better, but still cheap. On the bright side, the thin seats, simple interior and lightweight body shell make for tremendous interior space and utility, but I wouldn’t want to get caught in a highway crash in one.

    The Innova that Mike Soloviow complained about in a test-drive here long ago is a luxury car in comparison.

    The Spin is more modern. Front-drive architecture, better fit and finish (just) and available diesels. Something woefully lacking with the Avanza. It’s bound to be a hit, even if the asking prices are higher.

  • avatar
    Kyree S. Williams

    The front-end of this car looks very Malibu-esque…

  • avatar

    Speaking of Indonesia (zeea)

    It’s cool!

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