Imelda Sundoro is the Founder of Sun Motor Group, a key player in the automotive and hospitality sector in this country. Together with her late husband, Hoo Sundoro Hosea, Imelda founded the company in 1974 in Solo, Central Java, selling primarily used cars. “Prior to 1974, we had a small garment business, and through hard work and perseverance, we slowly grew and expanded its footprint into other areas, such as the automotive, furniture, transportation, hospitality, and property businesses. I felt grateful that The Sun Motor Group has grown from its humble beginnings into a highly regarded Indonesian company,” said the alumnus of Gajah Mada University.
Imelda Sundoro, inherited business spirit from her father (born in Fu Cho-China) who was a haberdasher. Her business spirit sharpened due to the struggle of life experienced since childhood. She worked hard to rise from a very simple life. Entrepreneurship was embedded in the soul of Imelda since elementary school, even when she was nine years old she had helped her mother in business, after her father died.
Going to school and helping her mother in business after school was her daily life until she married. Once married, Imelda helped her husband’s business which traded rice, soybeans, charcoal, etc. Often she rode a motorcycle with her husband to deliver merchandise to stores.
Imelda had attended lectures at the Faculty of Economics of Gajah Mada, and besides that she also attended various courses such as flower arrangement, sewing and beauty classes.
Her entrepreneur soul can be seen from the many businesses she has tried. When there was no copyright prohibition many years ago, she was involved in the record business and managed to make 50 cassettes per hour, copying popular songs (Indonesian, Western and Chinese) and marketed to the stores.
Then she concentrated on the garment business as well. She designed ladies and babies clothing by herself, tailored the clothes, and then distributed the garments to outside Java through traders in Pasar Pagi and Pasar Jatinegara (wholesale market in Jakarta).
In 1994 Imelda also jumped in the furniture industry. Beside selling furniture to public, her furniture factory also supplied furnitures for her first hotel, Novotel Solo.
Those just a few examples of businesses she tried, not to mention others businesses such as restaurant, cafe, importing and selling artwork from China, etc. But because she wanted to focus on the more promising business, those businesses were not developed further.
Imelda pursued the automotive business and started from selling her private car to a friend who was interested on it. Based on the profits she earned from selling this car, the idea came to sell more cars from the garage of her house as the showroom. Then the business began to grow. When she first became a sub dealer of Mitsubishi in Solo, she used the business profits to give credit to potential car buyers. Although the competition was very tight, she did not flinch. Imelda bid any advertisements in newspapers and billboards with a cheaper rate.
Her aggressive marketing impressed Indomobil, so she was offered to take over a car dealer in Jakarta. This was a new entry into the Jakarta market. Soon after that, Indomobil appointed her as the authorized dealer in many cities.
In the subsequent years, Imelda had expanded Sun Motor both on the number of outlets, as well as the outreach in cities. The Automotive division of Sun Motor Group currently operates authorized dealerships of Mitsubishi, Nissan, Suzuki, Chevrolet, Toyota, Hino, and MAN Authorized Distributor, in big cities like Jakarta, Bandung, Surabaya, Denpasar, Solo, Semarang, and other
cities in Indonesia. Meanwhile, The Sun Motor Group with 14 existing hotels in Yogyakarta, Solo, Semarang, Bali, Jakarta, which are mostly managed by the Accor Group, a leader hotel chain in the market, will continue to expand with several more properties to be launched soon. “The keys to success, in my opinion, are honesty, professional ethics, and unparalleled determination. Our group was founded on honest business practices, and I believe that is one of reasons why the company remains successful today,” added the mother of four children. As Chairman, she has been gradually delegating the automotive business to her four children.
As a visionary business woman, Imelda emphasizes the importance of challenges. Steve Jobs’s quote, “Stay hungry, stay foolish”, is her inspiration to keep moving forward. “I must continue pushing myself, and we can’t be too easily satisfied with what we have achieved. In addition, hard work and dedication are also crucial to our development.” For her dedication in the business world, Imelda acquired Bukopin/Chamber of Commerce Award in the category of individual entrepreneur in services on March 30, 2007 in Surakarta. Such life philosophy and her wittiness had led her to winning the special award for “Entrepreneur Spirit “ from Ernst & Young Indonesian Entrepreneur of The Year in 2008.
Despite living a hectic life, this dynamic woman realizes the importance of having a balanced life. From her head office in Solo, Imelda work six days a week. But on Sundays, she belongs to her family. “I like to spend my Sundays with my family. I also use my personal time to strengthen my relationship with God.” She is nothing without God’s blessing and support from her customers, suppliers, employees, community, and stakeholders. “Together, we constantly seek new opportunities by strengthening our network in the hospitality and automotive sectors, improving our competitive market positioning, and ensuring that the business remains financially secure”.
Imelda says a good business sense, together with strategy, innovation, integrity and creativity play major roles in building her company. “Sun Motor was a pioneer in many ways, and its future success is in the hands if my wonderful children and employees. However, I’d like to see the Sun Motor Group continue to be the leader in the automotive, hospitality, and property sector in Indonesia”.