The United States' third largest automaker Chrysler Group LLC has announced it will set up an authorized distributor here for the Indonesian market.
Chrysler cars are currently distributed in Indonesia on the initiative of local importers.
"Chrysler is about to establish an authorized distributor here. It's positive," the Industry Ministry's director general for transportation and telecommunication and informatics industries Budi Darmadi told The Jakarta Post recently.
"They want to reactivate their market in Southeast Asia."
Chrysler's plan was revealed in a meeting between Budi, Panggah Susanto, Industry Ministry director for land and military transportation industries and Chrysler South East Asia Pte. Ltd. managing director Peter McKenzie last month.
Budi said Chrysler was now working on the administrative steps needed although the automaker had yet to reveal when exactly it would start operations and which local company it would partner with.
The time needed for the start-up, he said, would depend on the "seriousness of Chrysler". He also said Chrysler planned to start by trading in Indonesia first before moving further ahead to establish a manufacturing plant.
"There are 10 countries (in Southeast Asia) they can penetrate," Budi said. He said Chrysler perceived the region was less affected by the global economic downturn than in Europe and the US - both of which are main markets for Chrysler.
However, Budi said he also had no knowledge whether Chrysler would sell Italian Fiat Group SpA cars through the future authorized distributor, or the reverse.
Chrysler had been owned by German automaker Daimler AG until 2007 before it was bought by Fiat - Europe's sixth automobile maker.
The move to expand to other regions comes after Chrysler's sales slumped in its main market - the US, similar to what happened to General Motors and Ford.
Managing director of PT GM AutoWorld Indonesia - the authorized distributor of the US car brand Chevrolet - Mukiat Sutikno said he had heard of Chrysler's plan to enter the Indonesian market.
"But I don't know what products they will market. Their top product is the jeep," he was quoted by Bisnis Indonesia as saying.
Source: The Jakarta Post (26/09/2009)