Jakarta – President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo inaugurated on Thursday the Indonesia International Motor Show (IIMS) at the Kebayoran fairground in Central Jakarta where he reunited with the locally made car that contributed to the skyrocketing of his popularity in 2014.
Jokowi took the time to visit the booth for the Esemka brand after delivering his opening remarks to kick off the country's largest auto show, accompanied by Coordinating Economic Minister Airlangga Hartarto and Eddy Wirajaya, president director of PT Solo Manufaktur Kreasi, the company behind the Esemka brand.
Speaking to reporters, Eddy said that President Jokowi looked happy with the design and queried if the car could soon be manufactured in the country. "Pak Jokowi sat behind the wheel and checked the interior and some features. He asked for a price and when it will begin to be assembled here," Eddy was quoted by Kompas as saying.
Esemka cars made headlines after Jokowi, then-Surakarta mayor decided to use them as official vehicles for himself and for his then-deputy mayor FX Hadi Rudyatmo.
The first Esemka car, formerly called the Kiat Esemka, was produced by students of SMK 1 Trucuk, a state-run vocational high school in Klaten, Central Java, in 2011.
The cars underwent emission tests twice in 2012 at the Serpong Propulsion and Motor Thermodynamics Center (BTMP) in South Tangerang before they were declared to have passed the test in mid-2012 with the Euro 2 car standard.
The car production project was reportedly neglected after Jokowi was elected Jakarta governor and then elected as the country's president in 2014.
Eddy later said that the models being displayed at the IIMS were electric vehicles built in China and were currently available for Rp 550 million (US$36,231).
"We have a plan to assemble this car in our facilities in Boyolali and we expect to reduce the price to Rp 440 million," he said, as quoted by Tempo.