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Thursday, February 09, 2006

Toyota Indonesia Eyes 13 Pct Rise in Export Revenue

The Indonesian unit of Japan's Toyota Motor Corp. expects its export revenue to increase 13 percent to around $850 million this year, company data obtained by Reuters showed.

PT Toyota Motor Manufacturing Indonesia's (TMMIN) revenue from exports of vehicles, engines and parts reached $750 million in 2005, almost double a target of $400 million, the data showed.

Toyota, the world's second-largest auto maker, controls 95 percent of TMMIN, with the rest owned by top Indonesian automotive distributor PT Astra International Tbk.

TMMIN exports two multipurpose vehicles, the Avanza and Innova, to the Middle East, South America, and some Asian nations including Malaysia, the Philippines and Thailand.

Its vehicle exports, predominantly in knock-down kit form, accounted for around 85 percent of Indonesia's total automobile export volumes last year.
Analysts and industry executives say increasing exports may cushion automotive companies in Southeast Asia's biggest economy from declining domestic demand for vehicles this year because of high fuel prices and interest rates.

Some have expressed concern that the recent strengthening of the rupiah, which was at its strongest level in a year on Wednesday, could affect exporters, including Toyota.

The rupiah rose to 9,175 to a dollar before slipping to 9,290, but the central bank says there is room for further strengthening of the currency. The monetary authority has said an exchange rate of around 9,400 is ideal for exporters.

Currently, about one of eight vehicles sold by Indonesian firms goes overseas and that number is expected to grow.
TMMIN plans to export 181,250 vehicles this year, more than double last year's 78,352 and 46,550 in 2004. TMMIN also plans to raise its engine exports to 102,000 units from 100,008 last year.

Indonesia's government more than doubled domestic fuel prices in October, a move that triggered inflation rates to six-year highs and bit the auto sector.
Despite posting record domestic sales last year, vehicle sales in December slipped by a third from a year ago -- its weakest showing in four years -- and some expect the unfavorable conditions to continue in the first half.

The country's automotive industry association, Gaikindo, has forecast domestic vehicle sales will fall to 500,000 units this year from nearly 534,000 in 2005.
Astra is controlled by Singapore's Jardine Cycle & Carriage Ltd. and distributes a number of brands including Peugeot, BMW, Isuzu and Daihatsu.

Harry Suhartono

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