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Moto sales and rentals see steep decline

Jason Boken / Khmer Times Share:
Overstock of motorcycles at Taing Motorcycles. KT/Jason Boken

SALES and rentals of motorcycles are stalling because of the COVID-19 pandemic, threatening the future of the businesses.

Not only has it hit locals in the pocket but also destroyed the foreign tourist industry.

On average, there are approximately 3 million motorcycles being used daily across Cambodia, with the vast majority of them being owned but some of them rented.

Since the COVID-19 outbreak earlier this year, a lot of people have lost their jobs and the people still in work more than likely have had to take a pay cut. This has left thousands with very little money to spend on goods and services. This, along with a lack of foreign tourists, has left the motorcycle sales and rental companies unable to gear-up their businesses.

Another problem is motorcycle factories being closed as well as borders also being shut with countries such as Thailand and Vietnam. Owner of Taing Motorcycles Taing Souleng said: “Since COVID-19 we have seen a decline in sales of around 80 percent.

A lot of sales come from people who work for big businesses such as NagaWorld and either they have had their work hours reduced or their salary cut. If things don’t start to improve soon I may need to close my business.”

Besides seeing a huge drop in sales, most motorcycle shops are now also giving discounts on the stock they already have because of an excess of vehicles. Most of these retailers are seeing tighter and tighter margins. Souleng went on to say: “We just can’t see how this is going to get any better until the borders open and COVID-19 goes away. This is something we were not expecting to happen to our business and we certainly weren’t ready for anything like this.”

Then there are the rental companies that seem to have seen an even bigger decline in renting out their motorcycles – with one shop reporting a decline of 90 percent.

Owner of Lucky Lucky Motorcycle Rental, Sok So Davy, said: “The main source of our business is from foreign tourists who come to Phnom Penh and rent motorcycles from us to go sightseeing. Now no tourists are coming to rent from us. We would usually rent out 100 motorcycles a month. Now we rent out 10. We have even offered discounts but this doesn’t seem to be helping.”

A lot of the motorcycle rental shops in Cambodia also provide visa services as well as work permits etc, Davy went on to say: “We usually do visas for other nearby countries such as Vietnam, Laos, Thailand and China. Now we aren’t even getting that type of business anymore. We need the borders to open and the $3,000 deposit to be stopped or no foreign tourists will come to Cambodia and my business will struggle. The only reason we are getting by now is because this is a family business and we are not paying out a lot of salaries.”

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