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Asean and the automobile
A number of minivans vie with taxis and motorbikes in trying to inch forward through a Jakarta traffic jam. Minivans, which are more comfortable for drivers going nowhere, make up 50% of Indonesia's auto market.
In Jakarta, each car must carry at least three people to be allowed on roads during weekday rush hours. This three-in-one rule has created a new job. Meet the "jockey." Like hitchhikers in decades past, jockeys stand on the side of the road looking for a ride. Like this woman near Jakarta, they hold up a forefinger to let drivers know they would be happy to help them meet the requirement ... usually for 20,000 rupiah (about＄1.6). At the end of the ride, they use public transportation to get back to where they came from. Drivers prefer moms with kids, believing them to be less of a security risk.
The fifth floor of the Plaza Atrium, a Jakarta shopping mall, is filled with hundreds of shops selling used autoparts, everything from side-view mirrors to engines.
The Bufori MK III La Joya costs about $145,000. Bufori, founded in Australia in the 1980s, hand-crafts luxury vehicles in Kuala Lumpur. Its cars are inspired by classic designs from the 1930s. During an exhibition in Malaysia in 1992, then-Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad suggested to the owners that they move manufacturing to Malaysia. Eventually they did. Except for the engine, transmission and a few other parts, the cars are made by 80 craftsmen. According to Bufori founder Gerry Khouri, most of the automaker's customers are rich Middle Easterners and Chinese. Bufori plans to build 60 cars this year.
Perodua, Malaysia's second national carmaker, is a joint venture with Japan's Daihatsu Motor. In the picture, the latest Alza model takes a bow at a shopping mall Jan. 10. Prices of the new car will be 2.1% to 7.4% lower than those of the Alza's previous iteration.
This middle-class Kuala Lumpur family owns two cars that its members use to go shopping or to take out on weekend drives.
This Kuala Lumpur family takes a weekend trip to a shopping center in a Honda City, one of its two cars.
A custodian sweeps up at the Proton showroom at the company's head office. Proton was established in 1983 by longtime Prime Minister Mahathir bin Mohamad. It was part of his Bumiputra, or son of the land, policy, a sort-of affirmative-action program for ethnic Malays. Because of protective auto market policies, Proton long owned the largest share of Malaysia's car market until a second national car maker, Perodua, in 2005 outsold it.
Two shoppers check out a car in Proton's main showroom in Kuala Lumpur.
Almost all taxis in Kuala Lumpur are Protons. Here cabbies from Budget Taxi wait to fill their tanks with natural gas. The station is managed by Petronas, Malaysia's national oil company.
KAZUMI SAITO, Nikkei staff photographer
Laos is a country on the move. The capital, Vientiane, buzzes with life (and ever more traffic). At Savannakhet, on the river opposite Mukdahan, Thailand, goods flow to and fro -- by bridge and by boat. These recent photos capture the country as it strives to harness Southeast Asia's economic energy.
YUMI KOTANI, Nikkei staff photographer
Weddings are big business in India. In November, Malvika Singh and Pranav Saboo, both 26, tied the knot in New Delhi. A Nikkei journalist was on hand for the festivities, which began with a traditional party at the bride's home and ended a couple of days later with the formal ceremony. All told, the families spent more than $100,000. (First in a two-part series)
YUMI KOTANI, Nikkei staff photographer
India's wedding industry has experienced rapid growth in recent years. A number of businesses have emerged to cater to the newlyweds-to-be, including hall operators, clothing retailers, jewelry stores and TV programs that specialize in wedding matters. The market is estimated at around $30 billion. (Second in a two-part series)
KEN KOBAYASHI, Nikkei staff photographer Japanese automakers reign supreme in Indonesia, controlling over 90% of the market. But of the entire pie, half is dominated by just two big names -- Toyota and Daihatsu. Other Japanese carmakers, notably Honda and Suzuki, are hoping to expand their presence by erecting more factories and releasing tantalizing new models. (This is the second of a two-part photo essay)