Vietnam, one of the world’s largest two-wheel societies, continues to expand its national fleet of motorbikes as consumers bought 1.3 million Hondas so far in 2011, a 20% increase. Yamaha sales are up 40%, Suzuki as much as 100%, Taiwanese Kymco 13% — and Piaggio also says sales are up despite Vietnam’s relatively gloomy economy, apparently because the vehicles are indispensable.
Motorbike company bottom lines are not reflecting the increased sales, however, because intense competition is cutting into profit margins for both manufacturers and retailers.
Meanwhile, auto sales increased 10% t0 10,000 in September, led by Toyota (mostly Corolla, Vios and Camry), and sales so far this year are up 3% to just over 80,000. Vietnam still has relatively few automobiles, but its more than 20 million motorcycles puts the country near the top in the world per capita. American icon Harley Davidson has little presence in Vietnam because its motorcycles are too big and too expensive, especially after accounting for high tariffs.