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May 9, 2008

Car sales triple on planned tax hike

Vehicle sales in Vietnam nearly tripled in the first four months of 2008 from the same period last year, Reuters quoted the Vietnam Automobile Manufacturers Association as saying Thursday.

As buyers rushed to avoid planned higher taxes, car sales by 16 car makers jumped 181 percent to 47,366 cars in the January to April period, with the figure last month alone nearly tripling from April last year to 13,271 units, the association said in its monthly report.

Toyota kept its lead among the 12 manufacturers backed by foreign firms, with sales of 7,896 cars between January and April, compared with 4,852 cars sold in the first four months last year.

Car sales surged as many consumers switched from motorcycles, waiting for months to get their cars delivered, dealers said.

The government's plan to increase the special consumption tax to around 50-70 percent from 30-50 percent by the end of year also propmpted potential consumers to buy now to avoid the tax hike, dealers said.

The government has said it planned to raise the tax to discourage car consumption to reduce worsening road congestion.

Ford Motor Co, Honda Motor Co Ltd, Mitsubishi Motors Corp, Mitsubishi Co and Proton, Suzuki Motor Corp and Nissho Iwai, part of Sojitz Holdings Corp are among foreign firms which assemble cars in Vietnam.

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