Mercedes-Benz has a long-standing history in Indonesia, South-East Asia’s largest nation. In 1894, the first motor vehicle to be driven around the island of Java was the Benz Victoria Phaeton, owned by the Sultan of Solo, Pakoe Boewono X. 2020 local entities PT Daimler Commercial Vehicles Indonesia and PT Daimler Commercial Vehicles Manufacturing Indonesia are celebrating the 50th anniversary of their local Mercedes-Benz Trucks and Buses commercial vehicles business.
While Mercedes-Benz cars, trucks and buses have been imported to Indonesia for a long time and locally well known for their outstanding quality and reliability. It was a political decision that paved the way for a local assembly of vehicles in Jakarta in 1970. When the president of the Republic of Indonesia issued a policy to boost the automotive industry to assemble vehicles domestically, the former Daimler Benz AG as the manufacturer of Mercedes-Benz vehicles established PT Star Motors Indonesia as the sole agent of Daimler-Benz AG products in Indonesia. Shortly after, the Mercedes-Benz L911 truck became the first vehicle to be mass-produced in the newly established plant in Tanjung Priok, Jakarta. The assembly of buses and passenger cars soon followed the production of trucks. For Daimler Buses Indonesia is one of the biggest and most important markets overseas. Chassis from all Chassis-plants are sold there: the heavy 9t Chassis from India, the 16t XBC Chassis from Brazil and Chassis from Sámano.
The Mercedes-Benz L911 a reliable workhorse
In the decade of the 70s until the mid 90s, Mercedes-Benz trucks with the “pug” nose, were indeed popular in the country and nicknamed “king of the trucks”. Besides being widely used as a commercial vehicle, Indonesian authorities also appreciated the Mercedes-Benz 911 as a reliable workhorse for fire fighting, troops and logistics transportation of the military and as a police truck.
‘Triple A’ the recipe for success in production
In 1982, Mercedes-Benz opened a brand new production plant in Wanaherang, Bogor, West Java, approximately 1 hour by car outside of the capital city of Jakarta. Today, PT Daimler Commercial Vehicles Manufacturing Indonesia locally assembles the flagship Mercedes Benz commercial vehicles bus chassis and the Mercedes-Benz Axor in its 42 hectare plant in Wanaherang shared with the passenger cars assembly plant. In addition, the company imports selected variants of the Axor as CKD kits from our Chennai plant in India and locally assembles them for sale.
Two more flagship ‘A’ vehicles from our Actros and Arocs model series are shipped as CBU from Wörth, Germany, to Indonesia. Besides Mercedes-Benz, FUSO trucks are sold as well in Indonesia
Various applications for the Mercedes-Benz buses
Customers of Mercedes-Benz buses, which are assembled in Wanaherang, are private and fleet customers. The areas of application are as long-distance inter-city buses in Sumatra, as Bus Rapid Transit vehicles in the capital Jakarta or as excursion buses in Bali. The bus company DAMRI, Djawatan Angkoetan Motor Repoeblik Indonesia, operates transit routes from and to the most important airports in Indonesia. The company has relied on buses from Mercedes-Benz for over 30 years. Workers Rukman and Sadiyo Sardi talk about their personal experiences with the Mercedes-Benz OF 1113:
In February 2020, the Benz Patent-Motorwagen were displayed at the temporary exhibition “The journey to 50 years of success of Mercedes-Benz in Indonesia” at the Indonesia National Museum alongside a Mercedes-Benz OF 1113 Bus and of course our Mercedes-Benz L911 truck. Celebrations of the Mercedes-Benz 50 years anniversary commenced, when a replica of the world’s first car, the Benz Patent-Motorwagen, was handed over to the museum. For Daimler Trucks and Daimler Buses, Indonesia is one of the most important commercial vehicle markets worldwide.