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How Honda Brio Dethrones Toyota Avanza as Indonesia’s Best-Selling Car

Honda’s low-cost hatchback Brio has become the best-selling passenger car in Indonesia since last year, ending nearly two decades of domination by Toyota’s seven-seater Avanza, which was first introduced in 2004 as a locally-designed MPV.

Brio, which starts from Rp 166 million ($11,292) after tax, racked up 61,025 sales last year, versus Avanza’s 60,624 sales.

It extended the lead in the first quarter of 2023 with sales standing at 7,327 units, while Toyota only managed to sell 5,641 Avanzas.

Avanza began to lose the crown after the front-wheel drive model was launched in 2021, but automotive analyst Fitra Eri said the new engine design did little damage to its sale performance.

“I think it’s more because of the price tag,” Fitra said in a recent interview.

The cheapest Avanza model is priced at Rp 233 million, throwing it out of the sub-200 million territory which accounts for a large majority of Indonesian car buyers.

Fitra noted that several Honda Brio models are qualified for the government’s low-cost green car (LCGC) program which offers tax incentives. Those models made up a majority of Brio sales.

“That makes Honda Brio far cheaper than Avanza,” Fitra said.

There is also a gradual shift in what Indonesian buyers demand from their cars – from passenger capacity to parking maneuverability in urban areas, he added.

Brio also carries the Honda brand, whose reputation allows it to sell more expensive cars than fellow Japanese carmakers in Indonesia, according to Fitra.

“So there is a kind of brand pride that makes Brio the most selling car. Also among brands in the LCGC program, Brio is the most fun to drive with an affordable price,” Fitra said.

But Brio and Avanze don’t make a fair comparison, according to an Avanza owner who introduced himself as Fatur.

Brio is a city car and won’t match Avanza during long-haul countryside trips, he said.

“They have different functionality – it depends on whether you drive in the city or in a more challenging terrain,” he said.

According to Honda Prospect Motor, the local unit of the Japanese automaker, Brio was launched in 2012 as an entry-level car for younger and first-time buyers.

It has since notched up more than 500,000 sales.

Sales Director Yusak Billy said the Indonesian assembly plant has exported Brio to Vietnam and the Philippines since 2019 and will expand the overseas market later this year. 

Source : Jakarta Globe