QOTD: GM's Indonesian Foray

Derek Kreindler
by Derek Kreindler
qotd gm s indonesian foray

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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5 of 22 comments
  • Onyxtape Onyxtape on Jul 02, 2013

    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.

    • Lorenzo Lorenzo on Jul 04, 2013

      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.

  • Niky Niky on Jul 02, 2013

    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.

  • Kyree Kyree on Jul 02, 2013

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

  • Nzecowitz Nzecowitz on Jul 03, 2013

    Speaking of Indonesia (zeea) www.godskyearth.com It's cool!