Market exhibiting positive signs after slow opening to the year.
Turnover from motor car imports in January and February stood at less than $150 million for 6,000 units, according the General Statistics Office. Turnover from completely-built-unit motor cars during the two months was down sharply in both volume and value against the monthly average in 2015.
March and April then saw a significant recovery in import turnover, reaching $208 million for 9,000 units in March and $182 million and 8,000 units in April.
The figures are promising and there are signs of greater optimism in the market.
In April a number of new models were imported into Vietnam, both for consumption and in preparation for the Vietnam International Motor Show 2016 (VIMS 2016), the largest auto exhibition in the country and organized by a group of official distributors.
Three individual exhibitions are to be organized during the second quarter by the three luxury car distributors of Audi, BMW, Mercedes-Benz and MINI.
Late last year, besides the common occurrence of customers buying motor cars prior to the lunar new year (Tet), many were also keen to make a purchase before a new tariff regime took effect on January 1.
From July 1 tariffs on vehicles with an engine capacity of 2,500 cu cm will rise significantly, and those on vehicles of 3,000 cu cm will increase from 60 per cent to 90 per cent or even 150 per cent.
Buyers now have two more months to take advantage of existing tax levels.
After that, retail prices will rise considerably. For example, a Mercedes S500L now costs VND5 billion ($224,300) but will rise by VND1.6 billion ($71,775) to VND6.6 billion ($296,075).
Under the new tariff regime, although rates applied on vehicles with an engine capacity of less than 1,500 cu cm will be cut by 5 per cent the retail prices will not fall and may even increase.
Distributors said that adjustments to tariff policies have created many difficulties as they frequently change and are only published just prior to coming into effect.