One year ago (plus a few days), Hyundai announced that they will be establishing a manufacturing base in Southeast Asia: Indonesia.

The Hyundai Motor Group doesn't have a full manufacturing base in Southeast Asia in the same way that the major Japanese automakers do like Toyota, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Honda, and Isuzu, among others. Hyundai has been able to take advantage of some agreements like the one with South Korea and with China, as well as a local assembly in a few Southeast Asia countries.

To be truly competitive though, they needed to set up shop in the region in order to fully take advantage of AFTA; the ASEAN Free Trade Area. The factory in Indonesia will be the solution to that problem, and it will be a state of the art facility situated just outside of Jakarta. It will sit on a lot that is 77.6 hectares and have a USD 1.55 billion investment attached to it.

When Hyundai announced the factory, they didn't specify where they were exporting to; specifically, if the Philippine market will be getting models from Indonesia. Hyundai actually still hasn't made any other official statements but we just learned something from a well-placed source who is privy to the production plans of Hyundai.

Yes, Hyundai will be exporting vehicles from the Indonesia manufacturing plant for the Philippine market.

Such a move would mean they will be building vehicles in Indonesia with the steering wheel on the left side of the dashboard. As you know, the majority of our neighbors in ASEAN have the steering wheel on the right side such as Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, and even Indonesia. The only other market that has the steering on the left side in SE Asia is Vietnam, and that could mean Hyundai may be exporting there too from Indonesia.

Our contact also let us in on some of Hyundai's planned models to be built at their Indonesia factory, and the prospects are truly interesting as some of the models haven't been revealed yet; meaning all-new generation Hyundai models.

The first two models that we can tell you about is a small 4-door sedan which will be paired with a small 5-door hatchback. We haven't received the name of the two vehicles yet, but what we do know is that the sedan will start production in Q3 2022 while the hatchback will start production in Q4 2022. Yes, still two years away; the factory itself is still being built after all.

The third model is, unsurprisingly, a small 7-seater MPV. This will be an important one because Indonesia is a major market for small MPVs, and they are the production hub for those models; both Toyota Avanza and Mitsubishi Xpander are built there.

Hyundai hasn't released the name of the MPV yet, but they did show off a concept of the vehicle. We think they should call it the Matrix like the MPV they sold before, but that may not fit their current naming convention. What we do know is that the MPV will start production in Q2 of 2022.

Needless to say, Hyundai Philippines will be very keen on the prospect of these three models in their line-up, and the AFTA advantage should enable them to sell in significant numbers and -hopefully- with more features that our market demands. There is a fourth model, but we'll save that for another story once we know a bit more.