Em xin phép
VietNamNet Bridge – Two years ago the Vietnamese media was driven into a frenzy when Hollywood stars Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie came to visit Vietnam for the first time. The image of the couple in casual clothes riding a black Yamaha Nouvo scooter in downtown HCMC was widely seen in newspapers and magazines.
Scooter riders seen in downtown HCMC. Vietnamese consumers have an increasing preference for scooters.
This actually gave free publicity to Yamaha. Sales of the Yamha Nouvo scooter have rocketed in Vietnam as this scooter has become a fashion for not only women but also men.
Yamaha's good business has led to other motorcycle makers to enter the market or boost scooter production to capitalize on the growing demand.
The race starts
Italy's Piaggio, the world's fourth largest scooter and motorcycle manufacturer, started construction of its first factory in Vietnam. Honda and Yamaha from Japan will open their second Vietnam factories soon.
Honda Vietnam, the largest motorcycle manufacturer in Vietnam, has shifted focus to scooters for men. It started a campaign to enter the market six months after the trip of Vietnam by Mr. and Mrs. Smith. It launched the Air Blade scooter designed with a sporty fashion.
As a favorite motorcycle brand, Honda caused an instant fever on the market after launching this scooter. When placing an order for an Air Blade at a Honda authorized exclusive dealer in HCMC, customers will get a shake of the head. The dealers are flooded with a lot of orders. A Honda dealer on Nguyen Trai Street in District 1 says it still has more than 600 orders to fulfill.
But those really wishing to own an Air Blade scooter can go to plenty of private retailers in the city, but the price is usually VND8-10 million higher than Honda's list price.
Despite the strong demand, the company says it is unable to scale up production as its factory in the northern province of Vinh Phuc is running at full capacity. As an adaptive measure, Honda has increased shifts to fulfill the mounting orders.
Koji Onishi, general director of Honda Vietnam, says that by end-April this year, more than 120,000 Air Blade units had been sold, becoming the best-seller of the scooter category on the local market.
Not to miss the race, Yamaha introduced the new Yamaha Nouvo Elegance scooter that comes with an engine of 135cc in late April, which is higher than those of the previous scooter versions. With a list price of VND29.2 million, including VAT, the new Nouvo scooter is going like hot cakes.
Just around 10 days after the new Nouvo version came out, Honda announced the launch of two new Air Blade versions with a sportier and more fashionable design. They retail for VND28.5 million (VAT included) and come with three colors - dark blue, white and red.
In addition to the new Air Blade, a sporty Air Blade Repsol version with the color of Repsol Honda racing team in MotoGP World Championship has been introduced this time at VND29.5 million.
The market is so lucrative that another Japanese motorcycle maker, Suzuki Vietnam Corp., has also forayed into the scooter market, with the launch of the Hayate priced between VND21.8 million and VND22.8 million.
The 125cc Hayate has a sporty design and targets male motorcyclists and is expected to strongly compete with Honda's Air Blade and Yamaha's Nouvo. The Suzuki prices are lower VND7-8 million than the other two brands, so the Hayate has a competitive advantage in pricing.
The competition in design
Vietnam Manufacturing and Export Processing Co. (VMEP), Sanyang's motorbike maker in Vietnam, was the...