May 15, 2020 / 1:41 PM / 18 days ago

Indonesia's April car sales plunge 91% as virus curbs hit economy

JAKARTA (Reuters) - Indonesia’s April car sales plunged 90.6% from a year earlier due to measures to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus,

the country’s largest auto distributor Astra International said on Friday, citing industry association data.

A total of 7,871 cars were sold in April, down from 84,056 units sold in the same month last year. The drop accelerated from 15% in March, the data showed.

Jongkie Sugiarto, an executive with industry association Gaikindo, said the data represented wholesale sales from manufacturers to dealers.

Dealers still managed to sell some 24,000 vehicles to consumers in April, despite large-scale social restrictions imposed in some of Indonesia’s biggest cities, he said, without providing a comparison.

“I think manufacturers and dealers, everyone is facing problems,” Sugiarto said.

The association expects to see 600,000 units sold to the domestic market this year, down from a pre-coronavirus pandemic projection of 1.1 million, Sugiarto said.

Indonesia’s industry ministry last month said total car sales this year for both domestic and export markets was expected to slump 50%.

Indonesia’s car market is dominated by Japanese brands, with Toyota and Daihatsu usually leading sales.

Based on breakdowns of April sales, they remained market leaders, but were also among those suffering the biggest drop in sales.

Astra International, which distributes both brands in Indonesia, sold 2,093 Toyota cars in April, compared with nearly 30,000 in the same month last year. April sales of Daihatsu were 1,330 units, versus more than 16,000 in the same month in 2019.

Astra did not respond to a request for comment.

Reporting by Gayatri Suroyo, Fransiska Nangoy and Nilufar Rizki; Editing by Jacqueline Wong

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