Japan and Germany overtook other countries to become Vietnam’s biggest exporters of completely build-up (CBU) autos of under nine seats in the January-June period.
According to the General Department of Customs, 50,000 CBU autos worth US$1.21 billion were imported into Vietnam in the first six months, dropping 9.1% in volume and 19.3% in value compared to the same period last year.Particularly, the country imported 20,400 under-nine-seat cars worth US$375 million, 21,900 trucks worth US$458 million, and 7,600 other vehicles worth US$379 million in the six-month period.Japan took the lead with 3,700 units worth US$143 million in the first half, rising by 62% and 103.3% year-on-year, respectively. This was the first time in years Japan has emerged as Vietnam’s biggest exporter of under-nine-seat autos as local firms previously imported more cars from India, Thailand, and South Korea.Japan was followed by Germany with 1,600 autos worth US$51 million, up 83.8% in volume and 65% in value.Japan and Germany are major manufacturers of luxury cars with popular brands like Lexus, Infiniti, BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Audi, and Porsche.Industry watchers said consumers rushed to buy luxury cars to avoid a higher special tax consumption tax which took effect early this month. Particularly, the tax on autos with engine displacement of 2.5-3 liters was revised up to 55%, three to four liters to 90%, five to six liters to 130%, and over six liters to 150%.
However, the tax rate imposed on autos of less than 1.5 liters were lowered to 40% from the previous 45% while the rate for vehicles of 1.5-2 liters remained at 45%.Luxury car trading firms reported strong sales in the first six months. For example, more than 1,170 units sold were sold, two times higher than in the same period last year.The first half saw a strong rise in under-nine-seat auto imports from Thailand with 3,600 units worth US$41 million, up 79.5% and 93.5% respectively.However, imports from other markets slid sharply. Particularly, imports from South Korea reached 3,200 cars worth US$20 million, declining 24.6% and 16.3% respectively, and imports from India reached 5,400 units worth US$21 million, down 19.2% and 20%.
According to the Vietnam Automobile Manufacturers Association (VAMA), auto sales in June alone were 24,400 units, up 31% year-on-year. The number included 12,900 under-nine-seat passenger cars, 10,300 commercial vehicles, and 1,180 other vehicles were sold. However, sales of passenger and special-use autos went down by 8% and 30% over May, respectively.Overall, auto sales in the January-June period grew 31% year-on-year to 135,860 products, with passenger cars rising by 24%, commercial cars by 40% and special-use autos by 50%.
Auto sales are forecast to slide in the coming months while prices of luxury cars would increase remarkably as a result of the new special consumption tax. However, consumption of popular cars priced at below VND800 million each is projected to inch up in the coming time.
Duties on autos imported from ASEAN countries were slashed to 40% from 50% early this year and will go down to 0-5% in 2018 under the ASEAN Free Trade Area (AFTA).
Photo: CBR Investment