Motorcycles are easily the most ubiquitous type of vehicle in Vietnam. Being more affordable than cars and providing more flexibility than public transport, these two-wheel vehicles have been used as the main form of daily transportation for millions across the country for years. However, after three decades of constant growth, the motorcycle market in Vietnam has become saturated and started declining in 2020.
Motorcycles: the most common vehicle on Vietnamese streets
In the 1990s, motorcycles were considered a relatively large investment in Vietnam, as imports were scarce and local production of these vehicles was very limited. It was only in the early 2000s that the motorcycle market in the country experienced a significant rise in both manufacturing and usage penetration. As of 2020, there were over 65 million registered motorcycles in Vietnam, equaling around two-thirds of the population. Nowadays, most of the motorcycles sold in the country are produced domestically, and the production volume and the sales volume of these vehicles are in the millions each year.
Despite being locally manufactured, most made-in-Vietnam motorcycles are produced under Japanese brands Honda, Suzuki, and Yamaha, which are simultaneously the key players in this industry. Having an extensive product portfolio that fits various price ranges, Honda has consistently been the market leader, holding almost 80 percent of the market share within the last few years. The rest of the market share belonged to the mentioned Japanese makers and Sym, a Taiwanese manufacturer, and the Italian Vespa’s producer Piaggio.
The future of motorcycles in Vietnam
The market for motorcycles started to decline in the last couple of years. The rapid growth of motorcycle usage and infrastructure limitations have resulted in traffic congestion, air pollution, and an increased number of road accidents. As a result, reducing the number of two-wheeled vehicles on the street has been high on the government’s agenda. The capital city of Hanoi announced its ambitious goal of banning these vehicles altogether by 2030.
Apart from attempting to detangle the traffic situation in urban areas by bettering the public transportation system, the use of electric motor vehicles has also been highly encouraged by Vietnamese lawmakers. Homegrown brand VinFast, a subsidiary of Vietnam’s largest conglomerate VinGroup, has been in the spotlight in the last couple of years as the champion of the e-motorbike segment. On the other hand, a proportion of Vietnamese is turning away from two-wheelers altogether, leading to increased car ownership in the country. The development of the Vietnamese automobile market raises the question of the future of motorcycles and poses further challenges for the already overwhelming road infrastructure in the country.
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