Indonesian Minister asks Chinese Wuling to market electric vehicles “soon”
Jakarta. A senior Indonesian minister urged Chinese automaker Wuling Motors to produce and sell electric vehicles here as soon as possible amid the apparent reluctance of Japanese auto giants to begin a swift transition to emissions-free cars.
Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan, the coordinating minister of maritime affairs and investments, on Thursday visited the assembly plant of Wuling Motors Indonesia in the city of Cikarang in West Java to hear the company’s plan to manufacture vehicles electricity in Indonesia.
“Hopefully sales can start as soon as possible, if possible by the end of 2022 so people can switch to electric cars much sooner,” Luhut said in a statement.
During the visit, Luhut was accompanied by Minister of Transport Budi Karya Sumadi and Minister of Health Budi Gunadi Sadikin.
The high-level government team was received by the CEO of Wuling Motors, Shi Guoyong, and the vice-president of the company, Arif Pramadana.
According to the company, Luhut supports Wuling’s plan for the production of electric vehicles at the Indonesian plant.
“We are determined to provide the technology and investments necessary to enter the era of electric vehicles. Wuling certainly needs government support to jointly build an electric vehicle ecosystem in Indonesia, ”Shi said on the company’s website.
He did not say when production of electric vehicles in Indonesia will begin.
He said Wuling has invested heavily in a “world-class” production plant and supply system in Indonesia, which now also sells Wuling cars in export markets.
Wuling has become China’s top producer of electric vehicles, selling 200,000 units in the first seven months of the year in the domestic market.
The government team saw several Wuling EV models that Luhut tested in the factory.
Since the Indonesian plant became operational in July 2017, Wuling has seen strong sales growth in the largest country in Southeast Asia.
Wuling’s wholesale sales increased from 5,050 units in 2017 to 17,002 the following year, and rose to 22,343 in 2019, according to data from the Indonesian Association of Automobile Manufacturers (Gaikindo).
After the gloom of 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic, in which Wuling’s wholesale sales fell to just 6,581, the numbers rebounded to 10,973 in the first half of 2021.
Luhut has accused Japanese automakers of dragging their feet when it comes to the production of electric vehicles in Indonesia.
He told a group of former students of the Bandung Institute of Technology (ITB) last year that the government’s ambition for electric vehicles is making the Japanese unhappy and the country is “under technological colonialism.” from Japan “.
“Japan is angry with us. They asked why we hadn’t considered developing hybrid cars first. And I was accused of being pro-Chinese, ”said the retired army general.
“Why should we go hybrid when we can directly develop electric vehicles? ” he added.