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April 11, 2008

Commercial vehicles lead sales increase




The Innova, Toyota’s best-seller in Vietnam. 
Despite the thirteen-year-high inflation rates and sky-rocketing fuel prices, the vehicle market in Vietnam saw 193 percent increase in car sales in March to 13,091 units, the highest-ever number of automobiles sold in a single month, Vietnam News Agency reported.

Commercial vehicles led the sales upswing with 7,942 units, up 272 percent, the Vietnam Auto Manufacturers Association (VAMA) reported. While the passenger car segment saw a 140 percent boost with 2,168 units, Multi-purpose Vehicles and Sport Utility Vehicles (MPV/SUV) experienced a 106 percent jump with 2,981 units.

Toyota Innova, Honda Civic and Chevrolet Captiva were the best selling models last month, which partially drove up overall sales in the country, according to VAMA's report.

On the company's ranking list, truck and bus manufacturer Vinamotor led the line with 2,356 units, accounting for 18 percent of the market share, followed by Toyota and Truong Hai with 2,326 and 2,192 units, respectively, accounting for 18 and 17 percent of the market share.

The overall sales of VAMA members in the first three months of the year climbed to 34,095 units, up 180 percent over the corresponding period last year.

Meanwhile, the country imported some 12,000 complete built unit (CBU) autos in the first quarter of the year, up 30 percent year-on-year, according to the General Office of Statistics.

The Ministry of Finance is in talks with the Ministry of Industry and Trade to raise the import tariff of CBU autos to 80-85 per cent, according to a source close to the ministry.

The talks also included hiking the import tariff of auto parts and components, a move that would affect prices of locally-assembled autos.

And if the two ministries agree on the plan with the Governments approval, it would be the second time import tariffs on CBUs were raised this year, following the April 2 hike, from 60 to 70 percent.

The country imported 28,000 CBUs last year, up 224 percent over 2006, while the CBU import value for 2007 reached a record US$523 million, up $208 million over 2006.

Last year, Vietnam slashed the car import tax rate three times, from 90 percent prior to joining the WTO to 80 percent in mid-January, then to 70 percent in the middle of the year and to 60 percent in December.

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