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 9 Apr 2009

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Vietnam car sales down 36% in Q1

Car sales in Vietnam plunged 36 percent in the first quarter of 2009 from the same period last year as higher taxes and the economic slowdown combined to hit demand, Reuters reported, citing an industry report.

Sales by the 16 car makers operating in the Southeast Asian country dropped to 21,839 units in the January-March period, down from 34,095 vehicles a year earlier, the Vietnam Automobiles Manufacturers Association said in a report seen on Wednesday.

Dealers say demand could slow significantly for the rest of the year, especially after the government raised a special consumption tax to 60 percent from 50 percent from April 1.

Vietnam's economy grew an estimated 3.1 percent in the first quarter from a year earlier, the slowest pace in at least a decade.

Toyota Motor Corp retained its pole position among the manufacturers with its first quarter sales falling only 5 percent from a year earlier to 5,631 vehicles.

Sales by Ford Motor Co dropped 24 percent to 2,250 units and Honda's were down 40 percent at 1,525 units. Mitsubishi Motors Corp, Proton, Suzuki Motor Corp and Nissho Iwai, part of Sojitz Holdings Corp, are among the car makers with assembly plants in Vietnam.








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