Low Cost Green Cars: Keeping Indonesia on Wheels #BlogPost
Some might despise them, but the general “normal people” masses love them. It’s the Low Cost Green Car or simply abbreviated to LCGC. Although, as I just wrote, some people despise them, their presence in Indonesia has-without a doubt- kept Indonesians to go on 4 wheels.
As Crossovers in other countries have outsold multiple sedan and SUV models, in Indonesia, LCGC are the ones that are outselling sedans and SUV/MPVs. Now, I, your resident REVVING-IT-DAILY Indonesian will present you a quick crash course on LCGC.
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With its tendency to have similar styling and size to Kei cars, it’s extraordinarily easy to confuse a Kei car to an LCGC. So, how do tell the difference?
- Engine Sizes
In LCGCs, according to the regulations of the Indonesian Ministry of Transportation, the largest engine displacement is 1200cc and naturally aspirated, contrasting the Japanese regulation of Kei cars which has a maximum of a comparably smaller 660cc displacement and allows forced inductions from factory.
Why do Indonesian LCGCs use NA engines when forced induction can be tuned to give maximum efficiency? 2 things: First is the fact that Indonesian people couldn’t give a damn about power. We just don’t. We really don’t. The second thing is to keep costs down and to keep things simple. But turbochargers aren’t always unreliable and expensive, you might say. Well, I can only say that the general public of Indonesia don’t have taste for those stuff. We’re some really dull type of people, I have to admit.
In some Kei cars, you can have some really high-end and sometimes sports car-esque equipment like for example the Honda S660 which has a very high quality seats, fancy interior and equipment, and a lot of sports car character to it.
In all LCGCs though, well, you’d be hella grateful if you have passenger airbags or anti-lock brakes. Why? Because, once again, it is all about the cheapness and the affordability and the fact that Indonesian people just don’t care about features in cars. We’re not a developed country with developed people who demands unnecessary goods, we feel grateful so easily.
- Body style
Most Kei cars are 2/3 door ultra-small cars with a hatchback body. This is because of the regulations made in Japan that Kei cars need to be in a certain size to make it an actual Kei car by de jure. Also, it’s worth pointing out that Kei cars have a maximum capacity of 4 people.
LCGCs, however, doesn’t matter. It can be a Toyota Agya, Datsun Go, and Honda Brio, 5 door supermini hatchbacks, or it can be a Toyota Calya, Toyota Avanza, or a Honda Mobilio, 5 door, 3-row 7 seater MPVs. Some people stretched it to the likes of Toyota Rush and Daihatsu Terios, 5 door compact SUVs and Toyota Vios, a 4 door sedan. Body styles and capacity doesn’t matter in LCGCs, it can be in any shapes and sizes as long as it’s economical and cheap to the masses.
- Cheapness and accessibility
What the hell? What? Being accessible is a problem that makes people despise them? Well, hear me out. The thing is, for us people who live in big cities and its surrounding smaller cities, the ever growing number of LCGC has kind of impacted people like myself in South Tangerang, just a little drive Southwest of Jakarta. It has always been a heavy traffic town here but since the booming of LCGC it got much worse. How worse? Unimaginably worse. The main road in my town used to be an area with very little traffic and now it is clogged with traffic and guess what’s the dominant car model? LCGCs.
Another bad thing about accessibility of LCGCs is the fact that broke idiotic road users can drive new cars with factory warranty. If you think this isn’t a big problem in your country, chances are, your country has actually strict police forces in the area. Also, your country probably has better educated, better cultured drivers than here. It isn’t abnormal to see LCGCs with “simple” people at the wheel storming around highways going 50 kph over the limit every Saturday night on the Jakarta Outer Ring Road (JORR) area.
- Safety? What safety?
Oh boy, this’ll get tasty
Right, so, in order to keep the costs down, most LCGC manufacturers go to extreme levels of cost-cutting measures. One big piece of this cost-cutting measures is the safety features, or the lack thereof. Let’s take a look at the OG of the LCGC, the Toyota Avanza’s safety ratings according to the ASEAN NCAP. Of course, the ASEAN NCAP ratings for the Avanza is 4 stars for front adult occupants which isn’t too bad. The rear occupants, however, has a 33%/100% safety rating which is a bit poor. What about the Datsun Go? It went worse for it. 2 stars. And that’s on an ASEAN standards test, what if it was a stricter NHTSA or EuroNCAP test? It won’t need too much of thinking.
Oh boy, here’s another one that’ll get really tasty.
Again, in the name of extreme cost-cutting measures that needed to be done in order to keep the LC part of LCGC, a lot of times, these cars just feel like it’ll fall apart nicely within a short period of time. And don’t tell me nothing about the interior quality of these cars. Yes, granted, I will say that they have improved by quite a lot in recent years but, looking at it in a big picture, it’s still fleet-car like. Can I complain about it? No. And I am not going to, even if I can. Because they are…well, cheap.
- Easy on the Wallet
Well, what can I say? It is what it is. It’s cheap. It’s a breathe of fresh air for us Indonesians who are stranded with massive Southeast Asian third-world country taxes where everything is taxed. Of course, LCGCs are taxed but, their taxes are far less than, say, buying a more expensive car in the first place.
And because of their simple nature, it’s a no surprise that these cars are very easy to live with. Spare parts are everywhere and because there aren’t any fancy equipment like you get in most cars today (well, to keep the costs down), you have very little things to go wrong.
- It’s more of a driver’s car than you might think
With the way I’ve been writing this article, you’d think that LCGCs are mostly cars for normal humans who couldn’t give two shots about their car and probably know nothing about them. I disagree. I think, it’s more of a driver’s car than a lot of claimed “driver’s car” in other countries. Allow me to explain; Remember I talked about how you’d be damn grateful if you have ABS in your LCGC? And how very little entertainment features inside the car? Isn’t that what driving enthusiasts love?
The utter simplicity is what can make an LCGC a true driver’s car. Of course, this doesn’t apply to all LCGCs in Indonesia, but if you think about the likes of the Honda Brio and the other supermini hatchbacks, they certainly fit perfectly into the driver’s car category.
And that is it on Indonesia’s favourite, The Low Cost Green Car.
Written by Adhitya@R.I.D - http://revvingitdaily.com/author/adhityanugroho/