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Motorbike sales stutter despite holiday discounts
The festive season had failed to light up motorbike sales towards the year-end, with demand continuing to fall, dealers said.
Buyers have resisted the lure of discounts and freebies offered by motorbike dealers through a series of sales promotions launched before the year end.
Domestic motorbike sales for 2013 were expected to fall to around 2.5 million compared to 3.1 million in 2012, due to slow economic growth and weak demand, according to the Viet Nam Auto Motorcycle and Bicycle Association.
Dealers are also struggling to during one of their worst years.
"The months before Tet used to be the best time for business with people rushing to buy new bikes, but this year is quite different," said Pham Manh Sy, director of the Viet Phu Company, a prominent Yamaha dealer in Ha Noi.
Sy said unlike previous years when they had enjoyed high sales numbers, he had only sold four bikes last month.
"This is the worst year since I started the business 15 years ago. I am thinking about closing the dealership and turning it into a restaurant," he told Viet Nam News in a telephone interview yesterday.
Most motorbikes dealers are suffering like Sy despite a series of discounts and sales promotions.
Suzuki has cut VND2 million (US$97) from the price of its Hayate scooters, and Yamaha is offering VND1.5 million vouchers for buyers of its Nozza model.
The country's most popular brand Honda has also cut prices of its best selling Wave by VND500,000.
Even Italian luxury scooter maker Piaggio, which rarely cuts prices, is offering buyers free bike registration fees.
"However, prospective buyers have fallen, and purchasing power is falling," said a Honda dealer in Ha Noi.
The country's two largest motorbike manufacturers, Honda and Yamaha, which account for over 90 per cent of the local market share, may experience another bad year in 2014.
According to a source close to these firms, Yamaha sales may drop by 10 per cent to 750,000 this year, while Honda expects to hit around 1.5 million to 1.9 million this year.
Viet Nam's motorbike market, the fourth-largest in the world, has shown signs of saturation, with annual output having exceeded demand, prompting producers in the Southeast Asian country to speed up their exports to other markets.
With motorbike sales totalling 3.1 million units last year, Viet Nam is the fourth largest motorbike market, after China, India and Indonesia.
But motorbike sales in Viet Nam have started to decline largely due to a slowdown in the country's economic growth. Last year's growth was up 5.03 per cent over 2011, the slowest pace in 13 years.
Motorbikes are the most common means of transport in Viet Nam, which has a population of 90 million and 37 million registered motorbikes, while the number of cars is just around 2 million.