Imported bikes in the slow lane

June 23, 2012 | 14:49
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Imported motorbikes are in the slow lane compared to domestically manufactured ones.

Vietnam Customs reported that 1,614 completely-built motorbikes worth $2 million were imported into Vietnam last month, a  66 per cent drop in quantity and a 73 per cent fall in value.

In 2012's first four months, Vietnam imported 14,227 completely-built motorbikes with a value of $22.5 million, a 47.7 per cent decrease in quantity and 42.4 per cent drop in value giants the same period last year.

Le Quoc Tao, chief officer of Vietnam Auto Motorcycle Bicycle Association (VAMOBA), said the decrease was due to the economic crisis which made customers tighten their belts.

In contrast to the expensive imported motorbikes, domestically motorbikes have hit the fast lane with 2.7 million units per year, said Tao.

Imported motorbike parts and accessories also increased in April worth $54 million, impressive growth of 45.8 per cent against the previous month.

Tao said the market still had room for manufacturers to raise output as foreign invested companies account for 80 per cent of the market.

"It was estimated that Vietnam would annually consume two million motorbikes on average for both first buying and replacing 10-year used vehicles. With this calculation method, Vietnam would have had 15-20 million units by 2011. However, the market reached 35 million units last year," said Tao, adding that the figure would continue to increase because Vietnamese often had more than one motorbike and regularly replaced new ones.

Tran Thu Mai, PR manager of Piaggio Vietnam - which announced a new $40 million phase of investment for production and establishment of a research and development centre in Vietnam, said the firm was producing at full speed.

Leaders of Asia Honda Motor said motorbike industry was still grow and could reach 4.5 million units in the period of 2018-2020.  

According to Vietnam's motorbike industry development strategy to 2015 with the vision till 2020, Vietnam will be a regional manufacturing hub for completely-built motorbikes and motorbike components and parts.

By Minh Thien

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