Vietnam Customs figures show major increase in imported completely-built-units.
Vietnam imported 26,742 completely-built-unit (CBU) motor cars from China in 2015 worth more than $1 billion, followed by South Korea with 26,589 units worth $613 million, according to the latest report from the General Department of Vietnam Customs.
Its figures also put India in a surprising third, exporting 25,146 units to Vietnam with a value of $128.5 million, then Thailand with 25,136 units and $440.5 million.
Compared to 2014, CBU imports last year from most countries doubled or even more in both volume and value. Japan and Germany only saw import turnover increase slightly.
Canada suffered a sharp fall in turnover, meanwhile, exporting just 92 units to Vietnam worth $2.7 million; much lower than the 176 units worth $6 million recorded in 2014.
While there was a clear boost for Chinese vehicles the strong imports from India also showed that low-priced cars are becoming more popular.
Most notable, though, is imports from Southeast Asia, such as Thailand and Indonesia. Under the ASEAN Trade in Goods Agreement (ATIGA), in less than two years import duties within the region will be cut to zero. Businesses are therefore in the process of enhancing their imports to dominate markets. Cars imports from Southeast Asia continuing to increase strongly suggests that imports from traditional markets like Japan, the US, and South Korea are likely to slow down.
With adjustments to special consumption taxes on imported goods, however, it is possible that the apparent heat in Vietnam’s auto import market will cool in 2016 and CBU imports will fall.