These days, it is a common strategy for either Malaysia, Thailand or Indonesia to be used by one of the few big car manufacturers as a hub for the ASEAN region. Thailand seems to be the most successful so far at this game, as companies like Toyota has made it a manufacturing central. It also has the priviledge of being nicknamed the Detroit of the East. The new National Automotive Policy of Malaysia aims to attract foreign investment in the Malaysian automotive industry to compete with countries like Thailand. But this round, Indonesia has scored few points with a car manufacturer that’s currently producing pick-ups in Thailand.

Jakarta’s head of investment board Muhamad Lufti says it is in negotations with a US automotive manufacturer to invest 1.4 billion US Dollars into Indonesia as part of a regional expansion plan. There was no indication on which company it is, but Muhamad Lufti says the firm is already producing pick-up trucks in Thailand. Upon research, it is revealed that both American car companies Ford Motor Company and General Motors have manufacturing facilities in Thailand, but only General Motors produces pick-up trucks. This means the US firm is likely General Motors. If it is GM, it will likely produce marques like Daewoo and Chevrolet-badged Daewoo vehicles at the Indonesia plant as they are destined for the ASEAN market. Previously, Hicomobil has expressed interest in assembling CKD Chevy vehicles here in Malaysia in order to remain competitive with the new NAP tax brackets.

The US firm plans to produce 200,000 sedan vehicles in Indonesia annually, with 70,000 destined for the Indonesian market. The cars would have 80% local content. The said firm is also negotiationg with the Indonesian government to get a tax-break holiday of up to 8 years and exemption from luxury tax for engines above 1,5000cc capacity, as offered in Thailand.

Currently Indonesia is the third largest car market in Southeast Asia. Thailand takes the top position while Malaysia comes in second.

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