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European, US carmakers race Japanese in Indonesia

Published on Mar 17, 2013 1:02 PM

JAKARTA (AFP) - Bentleys and McLarens could become a more common sight alongside three-wheeled pedicabs and Japanese cars on Jakarta's roads, with European auto giants making a push into the Indonesian market.

Western companies experiencing a slowdown in sales close to home are turning to Southeast Asia's biggest economy, looking to take advantage of both a burgeoning middle class willing to spend and an elite looking for high-end toys.

In 2012, Indonesia's car market grew 25 per cent to a record 1.1 million units, closing in on Thailand, the biggest car market in Southeast Asia with 1.4 million vehicles, IHS automotive analyst Jessada Thongpak said.

But Indonesia, with its 240 million inhabitants, "will emerge as the largest market in the region from 2014," Thongpak said.

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