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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Motorbike sales slow in 2010

Motorbike sales slow in 2010

FALLING incomes after poor harvests and a sustained weak property market have affected motorbike sales in the Kingdom’s capital, dealers said after seeing a sales decline this year.

Wholesale and retail motorcycle sellers said yesterday that sales of motorbikes dropped by around 10 percent in the first half of 2010, compared to the same period last year, and blamed the global economic downturn.

Kim Chhay, one of many dealers operating on Phnom Penh’s Sihanouk Boulevard, said that his sales had fallen between 5 percent and 10 percent, and that no recovery was in sight.

“I don’t see any recovery yet because the economy is still not good,” he said.

“Cambodian farmers’ incomes from their rice harvest and cassava have dropped, so my customers are no longer as willing to purchase new bikes or update to the latest models,” he said.

He added that most of his clients came from Battambang and Svay Rieng provinces.

The falling demand has in turn put pressure on prices.

“Last year, a Honda Dream brand-new cost between US$1,630 and $1,700, and now it is just $1,530 per motorcycle,” Kim Chhay said.

Vouch Lay, owner of Vouch Lay Motorcycle Shop, said he had not seen motorbike sales pick up after economic highs of two years ago.

He said that during the property boom of 2008, he had sold between 1,500 to 2,000 motorbikes. Since the downturn, however, he has sold an average of only 200 motorbikes per month.

A common phrase at the peak of the boom alluded to people “selling land to buy iron”, and Vouch Lay said the property market helped to prop up motorbike demand, as people had more available cash.

“The property market has not recovered yet, so the people from the provinces no longer have money to exchange or upgrade their motorbikes or buy a new one,” he said.

Sang Heng, a small motorbike dealer in Chamkarmon district, also said his business had dropped around 10 percent this year.

“In the first half of last year, I sold around 300 motorcycles, but during the first six months of this year, I have only sold 250 motorcycles,” he said.

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