Wuling EVs driving transition to greener mobility in Indonesia

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As reflected by the use of electric vehicles (EVs) during the ASEAN summit, Indonesia is keen to accelerate the transition to greener mobility within the region and wants to make ASEAN the epicenter of growth for electric vehicles as well, says Dian Asmahani, brand and marketing director for Wuling Sales Indonesia.

by Qu Junya, Wang Aona

LABUAN BAJO, Indonesia, May 10 (Xinhua) — There were only about a dozen cars on standby Tuesday morning at around 8:30 a.m. at the camp of Wuling Motors Indonesia for the 42nd ASEAN Summit, out of a fleet of 50 cars.

The other Wuling Air electric vehicles (EVs) were on duty. Wuling is here to provide commuter service for delegations to the summit on May 9-11 in the tourist town in Indonesia’s East Nusa Tenggara province.

Over 370 EVs have been deployed to provide the biannual summit with transportation, including 282 specifically for delegates.

Dian Asmahani, brand and marketing director for Wuling Sales Indonesia, said Wuling is proud to be part of this service for the summit, as well as Indonesia’s efforts to develop an EV ecosystem both at home and in Southeast Asia.

As with its Group of 20 (G20) presidency last year, Indonesia, the current ASEAN chair, has employed the summit event to promote the development of an EV ecosystem in the Association of Southest Asian Nations (ASEAN), a key step it deems in domestic and regional new energy transition to reduce emissions.

An agreement on this is expected to be ratified at the summit, according to Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi earlier this year.

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“The theme of the 42nd ASEAN summit is ‘ASEAN Matters: Epicentrum of Growth’. As reflected by the use of EVs during the ASEAN summit, Indonesia is keen to accelerate the transition to greener mobility within the region and wants to make ASEAN the epicenter of growth for electric vehicles as well,” Asmahani said.

As the official car partner at the G20 summit held on the resort island of Bali in November 2022, Wuling provided 300 cars for transportation service. For another ASEAN summit scheduled for September this year, “the number will be 150,” Asmahani told Xinhua, adding, “I think Wuling as a car brand wants to actively participate in EV growth and also the enhancement of electrification in Indonesia.”

The Indonesian government has announced policies to woo investment for developing an EV industrial chain from upstream to downstream, and it has planned to provide incentives for sales of 200,000 electric motorcycles and 35,900 electric cars by the end of this year.

Asmahani thinks subsidizing 10 percent of the value-added tax for EV buyers since April shows a particularly strong support from the government for developing the EV ecosystem.

In 2022, official data showed the Indonesian automotive market saw sales of about 1.048 million units, including over 30,000 Wuling cars, or 2.9 percent, however, the Wuling Air EV model ranks top in the sales of the new energy vehicle (NEV) segment, accounting for over 78 percent of its total.

The new energy model has turned out to be the Indonesian consumers’ favorite, boasting cumulative sales of over 8,600 units since its launch in August 2022.

“The Air EV is the newest version of battery-based electric vehicles manufactured by SGMW for the world, and Indonesia has become the first station,” Shi Guoyong, president director of Wuling, said at its roll-out ceremony at Wuling’s production factory in Bekasi, West Java province.

Wuling Motors Indonesia operates as a subsidiary of the major Chinese automobile manufacturer SAIC-GM-Wuling (SGMW), which is a joint venture between SAIC Motor, General Motors and Liuzhou Wuling Motors based in Liuzhou, south China’s Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region.

Currently, Wuling has more than 150 local dealers in Indonesia, with a total of eight types of vehicles produced and sold locally.

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In the EV sector, Wuling is not the only Chinese player in Southeast Asia. China’s leading EV manufacturer BYD held a groundbreaking ceremony in March for its first car plant in Thailand, while Great Wall Motor (GWM), China’s leading sport utility vehicle (SUV) and pickup manufacturer, highlighted its three NEV models at the Malaysia Autoshow 2023 on May 4-7.

Looking ahead, however, Wuling will focus its efforts on the Indonesian market, Asmahani told Xinhua Tuesday at the Wuling camp in Labuan Bajo. She is confident in Wuling’s prospects with the Air EV model in the Indonesian market.

“It is a smart, very good solution for the Indonesian market,” she said, noting that apart from suiting the road conditions in Indonesia, its price is affordable to Indonesian consumers, which has remained unaffected by inflation.

The car is small, measuring 3 meters in length, 1.5 meters in width and 1.6 meters in height, making it a top choice for driving on Labuan Bajo’s two-lane roads leading to the summit’s main venue, media center and hotels.

“The car is cute,” said Brian Gomgom, public relations manager for Wuling Motors Indonesia. The Wuling camp in Labuan Bajo is staffed with about 80 people, including drivers. For him, it is the second time to work for such a summit hosted by Indonesia.

Pointing to the special livery Wuling car in pristine white, Gomgom explained the detailing on the car’s body in addition to the summit logo, saying the special patterns largely in red and yellow mark the local culture of Labuan Bajo. Also the Wuling motto “Shaping Clean Tomorrow” can be seen, Gomgom highlighted.

At the summit, Asmahani said Wuling is providing service for 13 delegations, keeping three cars in mobile status for each, and operating for 12 hours a day starting from about 8:00 a.m.

“Being part of the ASEAN summit once again proves our commitment to accelerating green mobility in the global market,” she said.