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Scooter prices on the rise, despite stable supply   2009-05-04 - Viet Nam Net

There’s been no sign of an increase in demand for motor scooters, but scooter prices have been increasing dramatically. Analysts say that the scooter market is witnessing a ‘virtual fever attack’.


The price of Honda’s ‘Lead’ model, for example, has soared 10-12 million dong.. Meanwhile, Honda Vietnam has affirmed that the manufacturer’s supply remains stable.  In the first three months of 2009, it produced 16% more than a year ago -- with 12,500 ‘Leads’ churned out in April 2009 alone.


Supply profuse, prices up


‘Lead’ and “Air Blade’ are Honda scooter models assembled in Vietnam.  The price of these models on sale at Cho Lon Motorbike Centre in District 5 of HCM City has increased dramatically over the last few days. ‘Air Blade,’ selling at VND 39million per motorbike, is up by VND 2mil since the beginning of April, and ‘Lead’, selling at VND 37million, is up by VND 4million. However, buyers who want a yellow ‘Lead’ have to pay VND 39 million..


An ‘authorized Honda dealer’ on Nguyen Trai Road in District 1 of HCM City, is quoting prices VND 200,000 higher per motorbike than other motorbike shops.  This dealer has ‘Air Blade’ motorbikes on display at VND 38.9 million. Meanwhile, Honda Corporation’s suggested retail prices are VND 28.5million for an ‘Air Blade’ and VND 30.9 million for a ‘Lead’.


Honda dealers and motorbike shops attribute the sharp price increase to short supply of scooters.  However, Honda Vietnam confirmed that it supplied 365,000 motorbikes to the market in the first three months of the year, up by 116% over the same period of the last year.  30% were scooters.


In short, despite the stable supply, domestically assembled Honda motorbikes, especially scooters, have been selling at exorbitant high prices, which are VND 5 million per bike higher than the manufacturer’s suggested retail price.


Imports not selling, allegedly due to high dollar prices


In HCM City, the prices of imported scooters of 125 cc and higher have also  risen sharply. The price increases have been explained by the fact that the luxury tax on scooters has increased by 20% since April 1, 2009. However, VietNamNet’s reporters have found out that the prices in US dollars have not increased considerably.  At scooter markets in HCM City, the import prices have increased only by $100-200 in comparison with the beginning of the year.


Yamaha motorbike prices have also increased. Yamaha sales agents are asking  VND 32.2million for the ‘Nouvo LX’ model instead of VND 29.2 million, and VND 32.7 million for the ‘Exciter’ instead of VND 28 million.

Honda’s PS is now selling at $6,700, up by $200 over pre-Tet 2009 prices.  As such, if they pay in dollars, buyers will not have to pay much more, but if they pay in dong, they will have to pay nearly 10 million dong (about $560) more than before Tet.


According to Nguyen The Quan, the owner of The Quan Motorbike Shop on Ly Tu Trong in district 1, the dollar has strengthened against the dong, therefore, people do not want to purchase imported motorbikes these days.


Quan said that when dollars were cheaper, he could sell ten imported ‘SH’ and ‘PS’ models a month for a dollar price of over $7,000. The dollar price has decreased in comparison with two years ago, but now Quan is selling 2-3 motorbikes a month.


Currently, the most popular model in HCM City is the ‘Air Blade’ assembled in Thailand, priced at VND 54 million each, up by VND 2 million over pre-Tet days.  But, with sales of the premium scooters flagging, many shops are promoting lower-priced models in order to attract more customers.

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