Vietnam remains kingdom of motorbikes as sales rev up in 2016

By VnExpress   January 13, 2017 | 12:06 am PT
Vietnam remains kingdom of motorbikes as sales rev up in 2016
Traffic congestion has become a real headache for Hanoi in recent years and a burden for the city of more than 10 million people with more than 5 million motorbikes. Photo by VnExpress/Ngoc Thanh
Although there is much talk of a saturated motorbike market in Vietnam, the motorbike is here to stay.

Motorbike sales in Vietnam rose 9.5 percent in 2016 from a year ago to 3.12 million units, according to the Vietnam Auto, Motorcycle and Bicycle Association (VAMM).

Despite all the talk about a saturated motorbike market in the Southeast Asian country, sales of the two-wheelers have grown steadily for the second year in a row after the market was close to hitting rock-bottom in 2014.

In a report released last year, the VAMM said Vietnam’s motorbike market was showing signs of saturation after sales fell for three consecutive years after hitting a 10-year record high of 3.3 million units in 2011.

Motorbikes remain the most popular means of transportation in Vietnam, which has a population of around 92 million people and 45 million registered motorbikes, according to the Ministry of Transport.

It is hard to deny motorbikes play an important role in all aspects of everyday life in Vietnam, particularly in major cities. For example, in Hanoi, a city of more than 5 million motorized two-wheelers, everyone has a motorbike to travel around the tiny streets and alleys. And the number of newly-registered vehicles is still on the rise.

Despite government efforts to reduce the number of motorbikes on the road to curb traffic congestion, they are here to stay - for now.

The Ministry of Industry and Trade had forecast Vietnam’s annual motorbike sales would hit 1.8 million – 2.2 million from 2010-2020. However, the ministry had to revise its forecast in 2013, saying that Vietnam would have 36 million motorbikes on the road by 2020, up 9 percent from the previously estimated 33 million.

This revision still fell short of reality, as official statistics show there are currently more than 45 million motorbikes cruising across the country, 25 percent higher than the revised forecast.

With motorbike sales totaling 3.12 million units last year, Vietnam remains one among the largest motorbike markets by sales in the world, after China, India and Indonesia. That’s why many multinational motorbike manufacturers including Honda, Yamaha, Suzuki and Piaggio have chosen the country as their manufacturing base.

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