Q1 car imports plummet

By Nguyen Quy   April 18, 2020 | 03:30 am PT
Q1 car imports plummet
Cars stranded on Nguyen Trai street in Hanoi. Photo by VnExpress/Phuong Son.
Vietnam imported 26,637 completely built-up (CBU) cars in the first quarter, down 32.6 percent year-on-year as the auto industry loses out to Covid-19.

The country imported 20,601 cars with nine seats and fewer in the period, down 24.2 percent year-on-year, and 5,412 trucks, down 52.7 percent, the General Department of Vietnam Customs reported.

Insiders attributed the decline in car imports during the first quarter to the huge inventory left over from 2019. Importers are also waiting for a government decision to reduce or exempt import tariffs on auto parts amid Covid-19.

In March alone, the number of imported cars came to 12,151, valued at $224 million, and up 18.4 percent month-on-month.

According to the report, 90 percent of imported cars in Vietnam last month came from Indonesia with 6,914 units, followed by Thailand with 4,013. Imports from both countries are tax-free under the ASEAN Trade in Goods Agreement (ATIGA).

The pandemic has caused a slowdown in the Vietnamese auto industry, forcing many automakers to suspend production and cease distribution.

Auto sales hit a five-year low, falling 33 percent year-on-year in the first quarter to 52,557 units, as the Covid-19 pandemic triggered a slump in demand, according to Vietnam Automobile Manufacturers Association (VAMA).

The Ministry of Industry and Trade reported the auto industry to be one of the key sectors affected by the pandemic, with production in the first quarter falling by 10.5 percent year-on-year to 56,200 units and inventory tripling.

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