Tangerang, Banten. President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo opened the annual Gaikindo Indonesia International Auto Show, or GIIAS 2018, in Jakarta on Thursday (02/08). The event is one of Indonesia's biggest car exhibitions.
Indonesia is the largest car market in Southeast Asia, with more than 1 million new cars sold annually. However, growth in sales has been stagnant in the past three years, reflecting the country's lackluster economic growth.
"We understand the automotive industry is very sensitive to the existing economic cycle," Jokowi said in his opening speech.
But it should not discourage manufacturers from addressing the challenges facing the global automotive industry, he added.
"The first challenge is the widespread phenomenon of electric cars. This phenomenon began with Elon Musk's electric car called Tesla," the president said.
Jokowi said some countries, such as France and Great Britain, are already committed to developing electric cars, and will ban non-electric ones in 2040. Meanwhile, China has announced its ambition to become a leader in the electric cars sector.
According to the president, another challenge lies in disruptive technologies such as autonomous vehicles and online ride-hailing applications.
"With us and our children getting increasingly accustomed to Grab-Car, Go-Car, we may become lazy to learn to drive," he added.
Some manufacturers, like Toyota, the Japanese manufacturing giant and market leader in Indonesia, displayed a full range of its electric car technology during the exhibition.
Other carmakers, Mitsubishi, Nissan and Honda, also introduced their electric-car concepts and the latest models of their sedans and sport utility vehicles.
"The theme of GIIAS 2018 is 'Beyond Mobility,' which signifies an evolution from tools made only for transportation into creations to accelerate improvement in the quality of life," said Yohanes Nangoi, the chairman of the Association of Indonesian Automotive Industries (Gaikindo).
Forty new automobiles and concept cars, and eight new motorcycles will be launched at GIIAS 2018, he said.
There are 250 automotive brands and parts suppliers showcasing their products at the exhibition, which will run until Aug. 12.
Carmakers shipped 553,779 cars to Indonesia between January and June this year, up 2.8 percent from the same period last year, Gaikindo data showed.