More CBU autos to be imported from Indonesia
HCMC – Auto imports from Indonesia have increased sharply, especially after Toyota Vietnam imported completely-built-up (CBU) seven-seat Fortuner models from this country, instead of assembling such vehicles in Vietnam.
Statistics from the General Department of Customs showed that imports from Indonesia in February amounted to 1,285 CBU units worth more than US$18 million, taking the total import volume from this country in the first two months this year to 3,108 units worth over US$53.5 million.
Such figures manifest sharp year-on-year growth.
In all of 2016, Vietnam imported just 3,880 units from Indonesia with a value of about US$44.8 million, while in 2015, the figures were 3,450 units worth US$35.3 million respectively. That means the value of autos imported from Indonesia in the first two months of this year was higher than in 2015 and 2016.
The strong increase of CBU auto imports is attributed to a change in the business strategy of Toyota Vietnam. Since the beginning of 2017, the automaker introduced the new Fortuner multi-purpose models imported from Indonesia, instead of assembling the vehicle in Vietnam as in previous years.
Notably, Fortuner became the second best-selling model of Toyota in 2016 with more than 11,580 units sold, right behind the Vios make with 17,560 units.
According to Toyota Vietnam, it decided to import this model because the price of Fortuner imported from Indonesia is not much different from the locally-assembled Fortuner as the import tax for CBU autos from ASEAN countries into Vietnam has dropped from 40% to 30% since the beginning of this year.
Meanwhile, Thailand is currently the biggest automaker in Southeast Asia and has therefore bolstered auto exports to Vietnam.
Specifically, the number of autos imported from Thailand into Vietnam in the last two months amounted to more than 5,710 units with a total value of over US$110 million.
At a recent meeting on auto development in Hanoi, Toyota Vietnam said it had to reduce the number of auto models manufactured in Vietnam from five before 2017 to four at the moment and maybe to two or three in the near future.
According to Toyota Vietnam, the reduction of auto models assembled in Vietnam allows the automaker to focus on just a few auto makes and reduce costs. In 2016, the company sold more than 57,000 autos of all kinds, including more than 50,000 units assembled in Vietnam.
According to Vietnam’s commitments to the ASEAN Trade in Goods Agreement (ATIGA), the CBU import tariff will be reduced to zero in 2018 compared to the current 30%. With this imminent tax cut, analysts forecast many auto manufacturers will scale down auto assembly in Vietnam or even totally shift to imports.