Plan to mass-produce Esemka car gets thumb-up

Plan to mass-produce Esemka car gets thumb-up
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Jakarta (ANTARA News) - Plans to mass-produce the student-made Kiat Esemka car has received a thumbs-up from the Association of Young Indonesian Businessmen (HIPMI) as they prepare for the opening of 33 dealerships across the country this year. The Kiat Esemka refers to the SUV assembled by students at the state vocational high school (SMKN 2) in Solo, in cooperation with the owner of KIAT auto body shop in Klaten, both in Central Java. The students` achievement gained much attention after Solo Mayor Joko Widodo told the media he had acquired one Kiat Esemka and would use it as his official car. Nearly 80 percent of the materials and components used in the assembly of the 1500cc vehicle were locally manufactured, while only 20 percent of the parts were imported. Jokowi, as the mayor is popularly called, said the Kiat Esemka car could be produced en masse this year at a total investment of Rp90 billion. "We will develop the Esemka car as a smallholder industry. If all the permits have been secured, we will only need Rp50 billion in investment to expand the plant and buy more equipment, and another Rp40 billion to finance its operating expenses," he said after attending a hearing at the House of Representatives Commission VI in Jakarta recently. To date, seven local and national investors have expressed keen interest in investing in the mass production of the Kiat Esemka car, he said. "We give a chance to both local and national investors. We will first choose which of the interested investors is the best," he said. The mass production of the car made by PT Solo Manufaktur Kreasi and Solo Technopark would begin on a small scale and only after the car passes emission and road-worthiness tests and receives an identification registration number from the authorized agency. "If all matters related to the licensing could be resolved in February and March, we can produce 200 to 300 units," he said, noting that nearly 200 to 300 units of the Kiat Esemka car could be produced per month. HIPMI chairman Raja Sapta Oktohari recently said that the association was preparing to open 33 dealerships to sell the cars across the country this year. "Our target for 2012 is opening one Esemka car dealership in each of Indonesia`s 33 provinces," he said. He added that HIPMI wanted to invest in the Esemka car by setting up the dealerships across Indonesia. To realize its plan, the association would use its nation-wide network. "We will empower the networks of our members residing in all 33 provinces." The association`s aim in opening the dealership was to help maintain consistent standards in the Esemka car`s production in terms of after-sales service, repairs, and availability of spare parts. "We hope the quality of the home-made car will always be maintained beyond the moment it is sold," Raja said, adding he still did not know how much money will be needed to open the 33 dealerships. He said HIPMI`s initiative was a reflection of its appreciation for a product made entirely in the spirit of the nation reaching economic independence. "We want the euphoria of the Esemka car making achievement not to be just momentary, but to continue," he said. HIPMI also wanted to encourage all elements of the community, young businessmen in particular, to become enthusiastic about domestic autos. Since the first model of the car was launched a few months ago, orders for the low-cost auto have poured in and now reached about 5,000 units, Jokowi said. The orders include 20 units by Commander of the Army`s Strategic Reserve Command (Kostrad), Lt. Gen. Azmyn Yusri Nasution. "We hope the order for the 20 units of the car could be met by March 6, 2012. At least some of them, though not all, could be delivered during the commemoration of the Kostrad`s anniversary on that date," he said when inspecting the car`s assembly plant in Solo early this month. Jokowi, who claimed to be the brand ambassador for the Esemka car promotion, said all orders for Kiat Esemka car would be met in stages, according to the list of orders. Despite the influx of orders, the Kiat Esemka car manufacturer would not find it hard to meet them, he said. "The supply of components is enough and even larger than what is needed," he said. The components for the Kiat Esemka car are produced by small and medium scale industries in several parts of the country, including Gombong, Magelang, Tegal, Purbalingga and Jakarta. Further, Representatives of the government, state-owned companies and the House of Representatives Commission VI at the hearing threw their weight behind the mass production of the Esemka car. "Political support from all parties is needed to develop a national car like this. We will find it hard to struggle alone," Deputy Chairman of the House Commission VI Aria Bima said at the hearing. Deputy State Enterprises Minister for Strategic and Manufacturing Industries, Inranda Laksanawan, said the government was ready to support the development of a national car, including the Kiat Esemka car. Also, several state companies, such as PT Inka, PT Dirgantara Indonesia and PT Pindad, joined in supporting the development of Kiat Esemka car by providing training facilities for its future employees.(*)

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