Asia Minute: Cutting the Engines on Hanoi’s Motorcycles

Jun 30, 2016

Credit Arian Zwegers / Flickr

Motorcycles are a common form of transportation in many developing countries, in part because they’re cheaper than cars. But in one of the biggest markets in the world, radical change may be coming. HPR’s Bill Dorman has more in today’s Asia Minute.

If you’ve ever tried to cross a road in a major city in Vietnam as a pedestrian, you’re familiar with the local popularity of motorcycles.  Honda—which produces more motorcycles than any other company in the world---says Vietnam is the number four global market for the two-wheelers.

  The top three markets are also in Asia, by the way---India, China and Indonesia.  But in Vietnam’s capital, there’s a plan to ban motorcycles from the city’s center starting in 2025.  The Thanh Nien News reports Hanoi officials announced the plan this week—aiming to cut traffic congestion.  City leaders want to boost mass transit before cutting back on motorcycles…and the country’s deputy prime minister is on the record supporting that approach.

Nearly 5 million motorcycles are registered in Hanoi alone…with more than 10,000 new ones being registered each month.  The Vietnam News recently reported industry leaders expect another year of modest growth for the country’s motorcycle market.  As with many emerging economies, motorcycles outnumber cars in Vietnam—by far.

Based on government estimates, about 40% of Vietnamese residents own a motorcycle….while a little more than 4% own cars.