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Anticipating the Automobile: Transportation Transformations in Vietnam

Consumer Culture Theory

ISBN: 978-1-78743-907-8, eISBN: 978-1-78743-906-1

Publication date: 5 February 2018


Purpose: This paper examines emerging consumption patterns in Vietnam’s transportation market, and considers them within broader practices and histories of mobility. I examine how Vietnamese consumers are apprehending the current transportation shift from motorcycles to automobiles and the corresponding societal transformations it foreshadows and remembers.

Design/methodology: Research was conducted between 2013 and 2016 and involved analyses of transportation industry global and regional documents and reports, observations and interviews with users and sellers of motorcycles and automobiles in Vietnam, participant observation and focus groups with drivers and driving schools in Danang and Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, and discussions with transportation designers, engineers, manufacturers, and marketing professionals.

Findings: Shifts in manufacturing and recent regional and international trade agreements mandating tariff reductions on transportation commodities have been reorienting material and temporal relations to the market. In this transition period when the meaning and valuation of motorcycles are shifting, anticipations of automobiles are paramount.

Originality and value: By analyzing emerging transportation markets in Vietnam, I identify potential collaborative opportunities for stakeholders in academia, industry, and policy to further explore issues of transportation and mobility preferences and developments in Southeast Asia and suggest that this may be a productive arena for lateral learning.



Small, I.V. (2018), "Anticipating the Automobile: Transportation Transformations in Vietnam", Cross, S.N.N., Ruvalcaba, C., Venkatesh, A. and Belk, R.W. (Ed.) Consumer Culture Theory (Research in Consumer Behavior, Vol. 19), Emerald Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 145-161.



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