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Sales of locally assembled autos in January decline for first time
By Hung Le
Wednesday,  Feb 20, 2019,18:18 (GMT+7)

Sales of locally assembled autos in January decline for first time

By Hung Le

A man is seen sitting in a Mercedes-Benz convertible at an auto expo in this file photo. January's sales of locally assembled cars on the local market decreased sharply to 18,800 vehicles – PHOTO: HUNG LE

HCMC – January's sales of locally assembled cars totaled 18,800 units, way below the 21,400 sold in December last year, according to a report released on February 20 by the Vietnam Automobile Manufacturers Association (VAMA).

Last month recorded the first time that sales of domestically assembled cars dropped, since the Government’s Decree No.116 regulating conditions for auto manufacturing, assembly, import and maintenance and warranty services took effect on January 1, 2018. Meanwhile, car imports amounted to over 14,500 units in January, up 14% month-on-month.

Last year, the local auto market generally saw an improvement in sales of domestically assembled cars. Besides this, local auto importers faced a shortage of completely-built-up (CBU) cars in the first half of 2018 due to the stricter auto import requirements.

Therefore, the gap between sales of locally assembled and CBU cars in January has steadily narrowed compared with those recorded in the first half of 2018.

Earlier, local traders and dealers last year reported positive results, as more than 200,000 locally assembled cars were sold, up over 10% versus 2017, while sales of imported CBU autos were nearly 73,000 units, falling 6% year-on-year.

Local auto businesses pointed out that the 2018 auto sales did not accurately reflect the local market or the competitiveness of local auto importers, since they had difficulty importing cars in the first half of last year due to the new car import policy. Auto imports only bounced back in the second half of the year, alongside the launch of new auto models.

Within the last three months of 2018, over 35,000 CBU cars of all kinds were imported into the country, accounting for nearly 50% of the total imported last year, according to the General Department of Vietnam Customs.

Regarding the total auto sales last month, VAMA data shows that nearly 33,500 autos were sold, up 27% year-on-year and down a mere 2% month-on-month, with more than 27,000 passenger cars, over 5,700 commercial units and some 300 specialized vehicles. The volume of passenger cars sold rose by 14% versus December, while that of commercial and specialized units dropped by about 40% and 30%, respectively.

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