Vietnam's car imports have risen a staggering 34.4 percent from a year ago to 26,500 units, with more than half of them coming from low-tariff markets in Southeast Asia, customs figures show.
The car import value in the first quarter edged up just 1 percent from the same period last year to $488 million, data from the General Customs Department showed.
Cars from Southeast Asian countries totaled 14,460 units, accounting for 55 percent of the quarterly import volume and which jumped 67.6 percent from a year ago, the data show. The import from Indonesia increased five-fold.
The strong purchase was fueled by large tariff cuts from major markets like Indonesia and Thailand, Vietnam News Agency cited several importers as saying. The import tariffs on cars from ASEAN countries have been cut to 30 percent as of January 2017, from 40 percent last year, before being fully removed in 2018.
The tax cuts have helped reduce the retail price in Vietnam by 6-7 percent, the businesses said.