History of the First Foreign Car Factory in Indonesia

History of the First Foreign Car Factory in Indonesia – The Indonesian automotive industry has a long history. The automotive industry entered Indonesia along with the colonization involving the Kingdom of the Netherlands. At that time, of course, only the nobility could enjoy the car. At that time, Toyota and Honda controlled the automotive business. But they are not the first in Indonesia. In history, General Motors was the first factory to assemble cars in Indonesia. They started in this business in the early 20th century.

Read more: Logo Baru General Motors & Arah Elektrifikasi Sepertinya!

History of the First Foreign Car Factory in Indonesia

History of the First Foreign Car Factory in Indonesia
General Motors in Tanjung Priok, Indonesia. Image source: Detik oto


Chevrolet through General Motors started its journey into the Dutch East Indies (Indonesian name at that time) on February 3, 1927. The manufacturer from the United States established a representative company under the name NV General Motors Java Handel Maatschappij (NVGMJHM).

As the demand for cars continued to increase in the Dutch East Indies, it prompted GM to build an assembly plant in Tanjung Priok in 1938 for the Chevrolet brand. The car assembly that General Motors built still exists today and we know it as the Gaya Motor area. GM’s assembly facility is also the first car assembly plant in Indonesia.

When the United States declared the declaration of World War II on December 8, 1941, it helped increase the production of GM cars at Gaya Motor. The Netherlands East Indies Army as a US ally ordered trucks, workshop equipment, heavy machinery, and spare parts from NVGMJHM.

Unfortunately, it did not last long, the Netherlands had to fall to its knees during Japan’s expansion into the Greater East Asia region. The Japanese who controlled Indonesia forced the NV GMJHM’s operational activities to stop on March 24, 1942. The Japanese army also arrested NVGMJHM staff and employees who were from the United States, Britain, and the Netherlands.

In the end, the Japanese army took control of the Chevrolet Factory in Tanjung Priok. GM Corp as the parent company then withdrew all of its investment from NVGMJHM on December 31, 1942. The history of General Motors in the Dutch East Indies was briefly halted during World War II.

Switch Hands to Local Companies

The high demand for cars from the United States pushed the GM Overseas Operation Jakarta branch back after World War II. The goal, apart from opening a car assembly business in Indonesia, is also to maintain operational continuity in the former Dutch colony. Its name changed to Djakarta Branch as the party operating the car assembly plant.

GM car assembly finally stopped in April 1955. The company sold all of the assets listed on the GM Java and Djakarta Branch lists to Gaja Motor (Gaya Motor), a local Indonesian company.

History of General Motors re-opening Factory in Bekasi

History of the First Foreign Car Factory in Indonesia
General Motors in Bekasi, Indonesia. Image source: Okezone

In 1995 GM re-opened a car factory in Indonesia, located in the Pondok Ungu area, Bekasi. This factory was last operated to produce the Chevrolet Spin for the Southeast Asia region. However, the ups and downs of GM’s production in Indonesia happened again, because the factory finally stopped completely in 2015.

Then they transferred their production to India, GM in Indonesia only focused on marketing cars and after-sales services. The work of this American automotive giant in Indonesia had to stop on October 28, 2019. GM stated that it no longer sells cars and only conducts aftersales business as a form of responsibility to its consumers.