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7 July 2009

Weak economy blamed for 30% decline in Vietnam H1 car sales

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Vietnam's car sales in the first half dropped 30 percent from a year earlier to 47,909 vehicles, as a weakening economy hit demand, Reuters quoted the Vietnam Automobile Manufacturers Association as saying.

However June sales by the 16 car makers operating in the Southeast Asian country only fell 1 percent from a year earlier to 9,699 units after the government halved its value-added tax to 5 percent, the Association said in a report.

Dealers said demand could still slow significantly for the rest of the year as consumers shelve big-ticket items such as cars and houses.

Last year, car sales rose 37 percent to a record 110,186 units.

Vietnam's economy grew an estimated 3.9 percent in the first six months from a year earlier, slowing from annual growth of 6.5 percent in the same period last year, the government said last week.

Japan's Toyota Motor Corp held on to the top position, with its six-month sales down 13 percent to 10,907 vehicles. Sales by Ford Motor Co fell nearly a third to 2,699 units.

Mitsubishi Motors Corp, Malaysia's Proton, Suzuki Motor Corp and Nissho Iwai, part of Sojitz Holdings Corp, are among the car makers with assembly plants in Vietnam.

Last month Nissan Vietnam Co Ltd, part-owned by Japan's Nissan Motor Co, said it would start production in Vietnam and market the first locally assembled vehicle by 2010.


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