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23 March 2010

Dealers worry Thai unrest may affect car exports to Indonesia

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Indonesian car distributors say they are worried that the heated political tensions in Thailand could affect  car shipments to Indonesia, which imports a number of car brands from Thailand, reported the Jakarta Post.

Johny Dharmawan, the deputy chairman of the Indonesian Automotive Industry Association, (Gaikindo), said in Jakarta on Monday that political unrest in Thailand had not yet affected the shipment of cars to Indonesia.

However, he warned that if the situation got worse, car shipments to Indonesian could be affected.

“So far, we have no problems with car shipments from Thailand to Indonesia). Deliveries are still on schedule,” he told The Jakarta Post on Monday.

Local distributor of Honda import several sedan models from Thailand for the Indonesian market such as All New City, New Civic and New Accord. Thailand is also the supplier of several Toyota models to  Indonesia such as New Vios, New Altis, New Camry, Yaris and Hilux.

Mitsubishi, Mazda, Chevrolet and Ford also source some of their car models from their Thai factories for the Indonesian market.  

Indonesia imported 33,977 completely built-up cars from Thailand in 2009. Imports from the country already reached a total of 10,403 cars in January and February, this year.

He said car production in Thailand was relatively unaffected by protestors flocking into Bangkok because “factories and car terminals, as well as the port, are far from, and on the outskirts of Bangkok”.

“And cars about to be shipped are transported from factories to the port through toll roads,” said Johnny, who is also president director of PT Toyota Astra Motor — the authorised distributor of Toyota cars.

Rizwan Alamsyah, marketing director of PT Krama Yudha Tiga Berlian Motor — the authorized distributor of Mitsubishi cars — played down the ongoing political situation in Thailand.

“There were even larger demonstrations [in 2006] when [then Prime Minister] Thaksin [Shinawatra] was ousted and we had no problems [with car deliveries],” he told the Post.

General Motors Indonesia managing director Mukiat Sutikno said he hoped the Thai government would be able to maintain political stability.

“Demonstrations will always be there. It depends how the [Thai] government keep those demonstrations as peaceful as possible, so they will not affect the entire economy,” he said.

Thousands of supporters of former prime minister Thaksin have been protesting in the Thai capital of Bangkok for a week. The protesters pledge to continue the protests until the government meets their demands which include that the present Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva should resign.


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