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February 22, 2008

VIETNAM/AUTOMOTIVE MARKET
Car sales rise 156% in January

More than  12,000 vehicles were sold in Vietnam in January, showing a 156-percent increase year on year, according to figures from the Vietnam Automobile Manufacturers Association (VAMA), which represents the country's top 15 automakers. Car sales had been on the rise since March last year, said the association.

Leading the market was Vietnam Motor Industry Corporation (Vinamotor) which sold 2,792 units, followed by Truong Hai Automobile with 2,007 units. Toyota Vietnam for the first time slipped to third place with 1,841 units, Vietnam News Agency reported.

Commercial vehicles accounted for a large percentage of sales with 7,780 units, a surge of 350 percent from January last year. Around 2,106 passenger cars were sold, an increase of 77 percent and 2,189 SUVs/MPVs were sold, an increase of 22 percent over the same period last year.

In addition, lorry sales also recorded an increase. The South and the North recorded the highest sales with 5,070 and 5,065 units, respectively, whereas the Central region sold only 1,949 units.

In January alone, imports of complete built units (CBUs) rose by 421 percent year-on-year, with 3,000 units being imported into the country at a total value of $49 million, said the Ministry of Industry and Trade said.

Figures compiled by Tan Son Nhat International Airports customs showed more than 53 CBUs were imported into the country through the airport in January, up by only 24 units from January 2007.

The volume of imported spare parts also saw a substantial increase. Automobile dealers imported around 100 CBUs a day by sea and 200 sets of spare parts were imported by domestic automobile assembly companies.

In 2007, Vietnam slashed the car import tax rate three times from 90 percent before the country became a WTO member, to 80 percent in mid-January 2007, then to 70 percent in mid-2007 and to 60 percent by the end of the year.


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