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'Made in Indonesia' Komodo buses to hit the street

Malaysian-controlled automaker PT Asian Auto International (AAI) launched its locally manufactured "Komodo" buses Tuesday, named after the remote island in East Nusa Tenggara and its reptile inhabitants.

Industry Minister Fahmi Idris said the bus was expected to pioneer the nation's automotive industry utilizing local experts and supporting products to create a multiplier effect.

Fahmi, of the Golkar Party, was optimistic the country could become a full manufacturing base with designs and engineering to match those of the global automotive market.

"The amount and proportion of locally made vehicle components have continuously increased over the past few years," he said.

Local components used in Komodo buses now account for 50 percent of the total, Fahmi said.

"I hope the AAI will increase the proportion of local components from 50 to 85 percent in the near future," he added.

According to the Transportation Ministry, an estimated 3.4 million buses took to the road in 2006, with a yearly growth rate of 44.4 percent.

AAI marketing director Ruddy Soesilo said his company would produce 13 articulated buses fueled by compressed natural gas (CNG) for PT Eka Sari Lorena.

Lorena won the Jakarta administration public bidding to procure the buses for the Jakarta Bus Rapid Transit System, known locally as the Busway.

The Komodo buses will serve the system's Corridor 5, linking Kampung Melayu in East Jakarta with Ancol in North Jakarta.

At 110 centimeters high and 18 meters long, the bus can carry 155 passengers, seating 41 of them, and comes with a 1,100-cc engine, Ruddy said.

Given its lower cost, the bus is expected to outpace its competitors on the market.

"European-made buses with 1,100-cc engines are sold for Rp 7 billion (US$744,680) each. But the Komodo only costs Rp 4 billion," he added.

Besides producing Komodo for Lorena, AAI is also eyeing the ASEAN market, Ruddy said.

"We are now producing three to four buses a month. We plan to increase our output to 100 buses a year, or eight buses per month, with additional investments amounting to $150 million," he added.

"We plan to sell 50 CNG-fueled articulated buses on the ASEAN market, starting with Malaysia, by 2009," he said, adding the company could supply 198 buses once the Busway's Corridors 8, 9 and 10 commence operations.

According to the Malaysian stock exchange, AAI is 51-percent owned by Malaysia's Delloyd Corporation Sdn Bhd, a subsidiary of publicly listed Delloyd Ventures Berhard. The remaining 49 percent is shared by Malaysian-based Go Gas Engineering Sdn Bhd and local businessmen Dalani Imelda, Dian Permata, Haris Mulyadi and Subakti Budiman.

AAI was established in May 2007 to manufacture and assemble buses.

In December of the same year, the company was awarded an order from the Jakarta administration for its Rp 40.5 million supply of Komodos.

Of the estimated 1.4 million new buses to hit Indonesia's roads, AAI stands to capture at least 1 percent of the market share over the next 5 to 10 years, Delloyd said in its report to the exchange.

AAI's 12-meter and 9-meter bus chassis are still in development. By 2009, additional revenue is expected to be earned from the sale of the buses, according to Delloyd.
'Made in Indonesia' Komodo buses to hit the street 'Made in Indonesia' Komodo buses to hit the street Reviewed by Redaksi on 9:15 PM Rating: 5

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