• Nna/kyodo

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Mitsubishi Fuso Truck & Bus Corp. saw its sales in Indonesia jump by nearly a quarter in the first five months of 2017, as the local commercial vehicle market continued to recover from last year’s slump.

The maker sold 16,120 units in the period, up 24.0 percent from the previous year, to grab a 45.3 percent market share.

“This is a positive sign that the commercial vehicle market will improve in the future,” said Atsushi Kurita, president of PT Krama Yudha Tiga Berlian, the official distributor of the Japanese company.

Indonesia’s overall commercial vehicle sales increased 25.6 percent to 35,570 units in the January-May period, according to industry data. Sales declined 12.4 percent in 2016 while the Mitsubishi distributor, known as KTB, saw a 14.3 percent decrease.

Contributing to KTB’s sales recovery was the light-duty truck segment, where it sold 14,696 units in the first five months of this year for a 58.7 percent market share compared with 11,979 LDTs sold in the same period of 2016.

“Significant increases of LDT sales in the plantation sector (especially in palm oil) and the infrastructure sector, both of which already saw sales rise since the second half of 2016, play an important role in increasing commercial vehicle sales,” Duljatmono, KTB director for marketing, said by phone.

With government infrastructure projects underway in almost all parts of Indonesia, once these two sectors come to life, it will automatically affect supporting segments such as commercial vehicles.

KTB will try to increase this year’s sales by 6-10 percent from 2016, when Mitsubishi Fuso sales reached 33,061 units for a 45.8 percent share of Indonesia’s commercial vehicle market, Duljatmono said.

“If we see the infrastructure projects and also the positive trend since the second half of 2016 continue, we are quite optimistic about reaching our target, because commercial vehicles depend on economic growth,” he added.

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