Vietnam sees great potential for development of electric motorbikes

A VinFast engineer assembling electric scooters. Photographer: Linh Pham/Bloomberg

HANOI: The declining motorcycle market in Vietnam presents an interesting opportunity for electric motorbikes to gain traction.

Electric motorbikes offer several advantages over traditional petrol-powered motorcycles, including reduced emissions and lower operating costs, according to industry insiders.

Latest sales data from the Vietnam Motorcycle Manufacturers Association indicates a decline in motorcycle sales in the first quarter of 2024 compared to the same period in 2023.

However, the Vietnamese motorcycle market has recorded positive growth in previous years, except for 2022 when there was a sudden increase in travel demand due to the end of social restrictions.

Honda Vietnam (HVN) reported an increase in motorbike sales in March 2024 compared to the previous month, but a decrease compared to the same period last year. HVN remains the largest motorcycle company in Vietnam, holding a significant market share of 82.5%.

The domestic motorcycle market has defied previous forecasts of saturation and continues to be one of the largest motorcycle markets globally, with an annual consumption of nearly three million units.

This has motivated major motorcycle brands from Japan, Italy and Taiwan to maintain their presence in the market and adapt their strategies to the evolving situation.

HVN, for example, has shifted its focus towards the export of completely built-up (CBU) motorcycles. Recent reports indicate that HVN’s CBU export output has been increasing, with significant numbers in March. This shift towards exports is a strategic move to capitalise on opportunities beyond the domestic market.

By expanding its CBU exports, HVN aims to tap into new markets and leverage its manufacturing capabilities in Vietnam.

This includes exporting CBU motorcycles, as well as components and spare parts. The increased focus on exports allows HVN to diversify its revenue streams and mitigate any potential challenges in the domestic market.

A report showed that, in March this year, Honda’s CBU export output reached 57,692 units. In January, CBU output reached 53,457 units, and in February, 42,670 units. Earlier, in 2023, HVN’s CBU output was only between 15,000 and 35,000 units a month.

For Suzuki Vietnam, there are only three models and one scooter model being sold at a price of 48 million to 132 million dong, but their designs do not have many improvements. Models that have made a good impression among customers such as GSX-S150, GSX-R150, Impulse 125 and Intruder 150 have stopped manufacturing.

The move shows that the Japanese automaker no longer focuses on the motorcycle segment but will concentrate on the development of the automotive sector.

The shift towards electric motorbikes in Vietnam can be seen as a response to the government’s carbon dioxide emission strategy and the changing dynamics of the traditional motorcycle market.

The government’s focus on reducing carbon emissions and promoting sustainable transportation has created opportunities for the development and adoption of electric vehicles including electric motorbikes. — Viet Nam News/ANN

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