Controversial Esemka Car: Made in Indonesia or Product Rebranding?

President Joko Widodo or Jokowi formally launched the the Esemka car's factory and production facilities, PT Solo Manufaktur Kreasi, in Boyolali Regency, Central Java, on Friday, September 6, 2019.

Reported by Liputan6 on September 6th, 2019, President Director of PT Solo Manufacturing Creation Eddy Wirajaya explained to Jokowi during the inauguration ceremony that Esemka facilities and factory were all made by Indonesians. Esemka or PT Solo Manufaktur Kreasi is an Indonesian company.

The director explain car that is being produced not a national car, however. Esemka is Indonesian-owned brand but the company itself is privately-owned. Indonesia government does not own Esemka, which is contrary to the Indonesia public assumptions. Jokowi, in his speech during the inauguration, also echoed the director's statement that the car is indeed not national car.

Esemka Logo Indonesia
Esemka Logo. Source: Wikimedia

Greater Indonesia Movement Party (Gerindra) politician, one of the opposition parties in Indonesia government, Andre Rosiade, cast a doubt that the Esemka car is created by Indonesian, reported on September 7th in Detik.

The first Esemka cars variants which was launched are the pickup type, Esemka Bima 1.2 and Bima 1.3. These two models do have similar body and engine designs to Chinese cars. Bima 1.2 is similar to the Changan Star Truck produced by Changan Automobile based in Chongging, China. While Esemka Bima 1.3 is similar to Jinbei T30, also made in China.

The Esemka director did say, in a report by Tempo on 8th Sepetember, 2019, that some components, especially engine innards, were still imported from China . He also emphasized that Esmeka cars are not Chinese product rebranding. 

Esmka Cars in Factory. Source: Property of tempo.co

Esemka has a complicated history before finally being launched on September 6th 2019. Esemka car history began in 2007. At that time Esemka was initiated by a 'Kiat Motor' workshop owner from Klaten, Central Java, named Sukiyat. He helped Vocational High School students to make cars with the primary purpose of transferring knowledge. In total there were 9 prototype units he made under the name 'Kiat Esemka'. It was expected to become the first Indonesia national car.
Shoffan M.
I am an entrepreneur and freelance writer. Writing is my passion and I have been following closely on what is happening all around me especially in Indonesia.
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