Good news from a tightly controlled and heavily taxed emerging market: four-wheel vehicle sales in Vietnam rose 37% despite a second half dip.

Toyota sold 24,421 of the 110,186 locally assembled units sold, followed by Vinamotor (20,887) and Truong Hai (16,373) the Vietnam Automobile Manufacturers' Association (VAMA) told Reuters.

The tally of cars, trucks and buses compared to 80,392 in 2007.

High inflation, the global economy slowdown and new vehicle taxes slowed second half sales, however, with December sales off 23% year on year to 9,293 last month.

VAMA reportedly has asked the government - previously criticised for high taxes on cars and imported components - for some relief to boost sales.