Did Esemka Plagiarize?

Penulis: Safrezi Fitra

Editor: Safrezi Fitra

18/9/2019, 07.39 WIB

About 26 companies are supplying 60 percent of local components for Esemka Bima.

Pabrik Mobil Esemka di Boyolali
Cars made by Esemka are parked in the factory yard in Boyolali, Central Java.

Local Components for Esemka Lower than Foreign Brands

Referring to the level of a local content requirement (TKDN), Esemka cars are still far from foreign branded cars made in Indonesia. Low-cost green cars (LCGC), such as Toyota Agya, Daihatsu Ayla, Datsun Go, and Honda Brio, already have local components of more than 85 percent. Astra Daihatsu Motor even claimed that its products already use 90 percent of local parts. Meanwhile, the Esemka local content is only 60 percent.

One of the Esemka car initiators, Dwi Budhi Martono, said Esemka has a low local content. The reason is that it still requires high-quality components that cannot be obtained domestically. Imported components include the nozzle and fuel injector, as well as the Electronic Control Unit (ECU) or the device that regulates various sensors in the car.

Imported components in the engine include piston rings and valves. Speedometer, indicator, and control system on the dashboard are also supplied from abroad. “Importing from China is the easiest solution," he said, as quoted by Tempo.co, Thursday (9/12).

Dwi, who also works as a teacher at Surakarta State Vocational High School, said people should not be allergic to the use of Chinese components. Car is a global product that has thousands of parts. There is no need to make all the components to build it when there are many companies to collaborate.

He said the entire components in Audi, Acura, and BMW are made in China. “Some cars from those famous brands even fully use Chinese components [full 100%]. Just look at chinaautoweb.com,” he said.

Nevertheless, Solo Manufaktur Kreasi said it would continue to strive so that the use of local components can be 100%. Since the beginning of this year, Esemka has been intensively meeting with local component companies. It has also collaborated with the Indonesian Automotive Parts and Components Association (GIAMM) and the Association of Small and Medium-Sized Automotive Component Companies (PIKKO).

Long Road for Esemka Cars

Sukiyat, the owner of the Kiat Motor workshop, initiated Esemka for the first time in 2007 as part of a transfer of knowledge to vocational students. Two years later, they built Esemka Rajawali. In total, nine prototype units were made under the name of 'Kiat Esemka.'

Esemka skyrocketed when Jokowi, then Solo Mayor, used it as his official vehicle in 2012. At that time, Esemka's development was contested. High in demand, but low in production. Moreover, the Esemka car has not obtained a permit.

Investors are required to develop this national automotive product. National car development is estimated to require an initial capital of Rp 100 billion. Garansindo was initially interested in acquiring Esemka by investing in and developing the work of the vocational high school students. However, cooperation failed to reach an agreement.

On April 21, 2015, PT Adiperkasa Citra Lestari Hero, a company owned by former Head of the State Intelligence Agency (BIN) AM Hendropriyono, succeeded in attracting Esemka to collaborate. Esemka is also developed by building factories in Boyolali, Bogor, and other locations in West Java.

The Esemka development did not go smoothly. This car did not pass the exhaust emissions test two times. In 2010, Esemka was deemed having too high exhaust gas. Two years later, it failed to pass another emission test as part of the production requirements. In August 2012, Esemka successfully passed the third test and considered meeting the standards. Although it has passed emissions, the Esemka car must reduce its weight by half.

Although it has been through a series of developments since 2009, Esemka cannot be mass-produced yet. The reason is that Euro 4 emission standards have been applied to all types of four-wheeled vehicles, while Esemka has just received a Euro 2-Type Test Certificate (SUT). It means that Esemka cars that have received a SUT must be re-tested with a Euro 4 engine.

Solo Manufaktur Kreasi confidently released its first product called Esemka Bima after obtaining permission and establishing its factory. The other products will soon follow. In the first year, it will produce 3,500 units of Esemka Bima. The total car production capacity is 12,000 units per year.

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