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Indonesia 1996-1997: Toyota Kijang and Isuzu Panther on top, Timor brand launches

The Timor S515 lands directly in 8th place in Indonesia in 1996.

After two consecutive record years, the Indonesian new car market drops -14.8% year-on-year in 1996 to 278.416 units. Both Toyota (-26.7%) and Suzuki (-19.2%) fall even faster and reduce their shares to 24.1% and 20.6% respectively. Mitsubishi (+1.8%) climbs onto the podium for the first time since BSCB started following Indonesia annually in 1990, dislodging Daihatsu (-39.7%) down to #5 while Isuzu (-2.1%) remains at #4. Chevrolet (+461.2%), Honda (+30.5%), Ford (+26.8%), BMW (+20.2%) and Mitsubishi Fuso (+16%) all impress.

Timor models imported from South Korea.

But the most interesting event in Indonesia in 1997 is the launch of the national brand Timor, landing directly in 8th place with a solid 6.042 sales. The brainchild of Tommy Suharto, the youngest son of then President Suharto, PT Timor Putra Nasional, meaning “Timor, National Son” was intended to become the national car of Indonesia, similarly to Proton for Malaysia. The patriotic name was meant to remind Indonesians of the importance of East Timor. The Timor range consists of a rebadge Kia Sephia called the S515 (sedan) and a rare SW516 (station wagon). However unlike the Proton Saga, none of the Timor S515 were produced Indonesia but instead imported from South Korea, yet they escaped import tax, luxury tax, and an import surcharge. This meant the Timor was sold at half the price of a comparable Toyota Corolla. 45,000 cars a year were planned.

In the 1996 models ranking, fragmentation rules with 3 of the Top 4 losing share: the Toyota Kijang (-26.9%) down to 20.4%, the Suzuki Carry (-29.1%) down to 14% and the Daihatsu Zebra (-22.3%) down to 9%. Only the Isuzu Panther (-4.8%) improves to 12.1%. Both the Mitsubishi T120 (+5.8%) and L300 (+5.4%) advance one spot to #5 and #6 respectively and the Timor S515 lands directly in 9th place and best-selling passenger car above the Toyota Corolla (-16.9%).

The Isuzu Panther exists also in pickup variant.

New car sales rebound nicely in 1997, up 21% to a new volume record at 336.968. Toyota (+34.9%) does even better and improves to 26.9% share whereas Suzuki (+12%) underperforms and Isuzu (+22.6%) climbs onto the podium for the first time at #3, knocking Mitsubishi (-4.1%) down to #4. Daihatsu (-5.5%) remains in 5th place, Timor (+222.3%) is up 3-fold to #6 and both Mazda (+177.4%) and Nissan (+163.7%) break into the Top 10. Model-wise, the Toyota Kijang (+42.8%) enjoys its new generation to tighten its hold on its home market at 24.1% share. The Isuzu Panther (+29.5%) also gets a boost even though it isn’t getting renewed, accessing to the overall 2nd spot for the first time ever and knocking the Suzuki Carry (-0.8%) down to #3. The Daihatsu Zebra (-2.7%) remains at #4, the Timor S515 (+222.3%) breaks into the Top 5 and the Suzuki Baleno (+630.7%) is up 15 spots to end its first full year in market at #8.

Previous post: Indonesia 1994-1995: Market breaks all-time record twice

Full Year 1997 and 1997 Top 22 All-brands and Top 65 All-models vs. Full previous year figures below.

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