Motorbike market: It’s now the age of scooters

As the motorbike market has become saturated, the scooter market has boomed with very high demand for both domestic and imported products. Analysts say the scooter market now has shown an impressive growth rate of 30-40 percent per annum.

Since 2009, motorbike manufacturers have focused on developing scooter models. The appearance of the luxury Vespa LX-125cc, manufactured by Piaggio, has forced other manufacturers to compete.

To date, domestic manufacturers have marketed many different models of scooters. Honda Vietnam has the SH-125cc/150cc, while SYM has the Shark 125cc.

Currently, manufacturers are trying to make different types of products which target different classes in the society. Piaggio, for example, has launched the Vespa LX-125cc for women and the Vespa S-125cc for men. Honda Vietnam has also been trying to attract women by launching the Click 2010 for women.

Manufacturers have also launched models targeting teenagers. AirBlade Repsol, Nouvo RC (Racing), Click Play and Mio Classico have become the well-known brands among teenagers. Meanwhile, SYM has spent money to advertise a model with high femininity — Attila Elizabeth.

The scooter market can be divided into two main groups: The medium class products priced at 25-40 million dong and high class products costing 80-120 million dong. Besides, there are also the models which have sale prices at the average levels of 45-60 million dong, like SYM’s Shark 125cc or Piaggio Fly.

In Vietnam, people consider scooters with sale prices of 80-100 million dong to be luxury scooters. Honda and Piaggio are gathering their strength to compete in making luxury scooters. Meanwhile, other manufacturers still cannot assemble luxury scooters in Vietnam, and they are still luxury import products.

Piaggio, though having an assembling factory in Vietnam already, is still importing new models to sell domestically.

Expensive import models are selling well in Vietnam because domestic manufacturers still cannot make unique products. Honda PCX-125cc, for example, has just appeared in Europe, and it has also appeared in Vietnam with sky-high sale prices. Suzuki Sixteen 125cc, 2010 version, is another example. It has appeared in Vietnam with the sky high sale price of $7000.

Vietnam is an important potential market for scooter manufacturers. Analysts say that the market has impressive growth rate of 30-40 percent per annum.

However, despite the high growth rate, manufacturers in Vietnam have not really made heavy investment in their assembling plants in Vietnam. Domestic manufacturers now can meet 70-80 percent of the domestic demand for scooters, while the remaining market share now belongs to import companies. The market still has not had really luxury products like Yamaha’s X-Max or Honda S-Wing.

The problem is that the manufacturers in Vietnam are still not as powerful as those in neighboring Thailand, and consumers still have to spend much money to buy scooters imported from Thailand. Though Air Blades are now assembled in Vietnam, many people still prefer made-in-Thailand products which have slightly higher sale prices by 7-10 million dong.

According to the General Office of Statistics, in the first five months of the year, Vietnam imported 46,000 motorbikes. The total value of imported motorbikes and motorbike parts was $355 million. The number of import motorbike decreased by 27.3 percent, but the import revenue increased by 44.7 percent in comparison with the same period last year.

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