Viet Nam’s motorcycle market has been rapidly growing in recent years, bucking expectations that it would enter a saturation stage, as consumption shifts from semi-automatic motorbikes to scooters and from widely popular scooters to luxury vehicles.
Many motorbikes with high engine displacement were introduced at the Vietnam AutoExpo 2018 in Ha Noi in June. — Photo C.I.S
That forecast was released by the Vietnam Association of Motorcycle Manufacturers (VAMM) two years ago. But its sales figures in recent years show that the consumption of vehicles produced by five VAMM members—Honda, Piaggio, Suzuki, SYM and Yamaha—has increased every year.
In 2015, the whole market consumed only 2,849,060 vehicles. Consumption rose to 3,121,023 vehicles in 2016 and 3,272,373 motorcycles of all kinds in 2017.
In the first half of this year, VAMM said its members sold 783,940 vehicles, up 6.1 per cent compared with the same period last year.
The Vietnamese motorcycle market consumed 1,586,444 vehicles of all kinds during the period, including those produced by VAMM members and other brands such as Ducati, Kawasaki, KTM, Benelli, Harley Davidson, Triumph and Royal Enfield.
Insiders said that the sales figure this year would exceed the nearly 3.3 million vehicles sold in 2017. The second half of the year is always the time for promoting motorbike sales, as students were entering the new school year and the Tet (Lunar New Year) holiday shopping season begins.
According to Executive Vice President of Asia Pacific cum General Director of Piaggio Vietnam Gianluca Fiume, the Vietnamese motorcycle market is clearly divided into the segments of popular motorbikes and luxury ones. Vietnamese consumers not only see vehicles as a means of transport, but also a way to demonstrate their status.
He did not disclose the sales figures of Piaggio but he confirmed that the firm’s sales grew by double digits in the first half of this year. The top sellers were Piaggio Medley and Vespa GTS.
Gianluca also noted that Viet Nam’s economy was growing and people’s incomes had risen, leading to the trend of using high-end scooters.
In the future, the high-end scooter segment will grow faster than the overall growth rate of the motorcycle market. For this reason, 10 years ago Piaggio set the target to build Piaggio Vietnam into its main production and trade centre in the Asia-Pacific region to serve Vietnamese consumers and export.
Potential of high engine displacement motorbikes
The market of motorcycles with high engine displacement has recently heated up, as some of the giant firms including Suzuki, Truong Hai Auto Corporation (Thaco) and Honda have focused distribution in this high-potential segment.
After success with its popular models, Suzuki has been focusing on the more-than-300cc motorbike segment.
Meanwhile, after becoming the distributor of the BMW brand earlier this year, Thaco quickly introduced the first batch of BMW Motorrad motorbikes to Viet Nam. The vehicles are priced from VND189 million (US$8,182) to VND629 million.
Honda Vietnam, which used to focus on the production of semi-automatic motorbikes, scooters and cars, has since May stepped into the high engine displacement motorbike segment with the opening of Honda Motor Showroom in HCM City. It launched nine models of 500cc to 1,000cc in the naked, supersport, cruiser, adventure and touring segments, with prices from VND172 million to VND1.2 billion.
Toshio Kuwahara, CEO of Honda Vietnam said he chose HCM City as the first locality in Viet Nam to open a showroom because it’s the country’s economic hub.
In addition, there were many other large motorcycle manufacturers that would raise the “heat” for the market. After HCM City, Honda would expand business in Ha Noi and then in other provinces, said Toshio.
Meanwhile, a representative of Yamaha Vietnam recognised that the market of motorcycles with high engine displacement was still quite new and fickle. However, most car manufacturers were aware that customers’ need to buy motorbikes with high engine displacement was increasing.
Besides Yamaha, Thaco and Honda Vietnam, the motorcycle market includes major brands from the US and Europe such as Harley-Davidson, Ducati, Triumph and Royal Enfield, which introduced new products to customers at the Vietnam AutoExpo 2018 in Ha Noi in June.
Representatives of Ducati distributor in Viet Nam Bich Trang said that more and more carmakers were participating in the motorbike market in Viet Nam, but not mainly due to the strong growth in purchasing power to date. Rather, they see great future potential in the Vietnamese market and so they were concentrating on building a brand image, preparing for the long-term “war” rather than setting high expectations for sales at present. — VNS