Vehicle sales in Vietnam by 11 foreign-backed car makers jumped 51% to 3,165 units in March from a year earlier despite a sharp rise in tax, an industry association told Reuters on Wednesday.

Sales reportedly surged 122.7% from February while sales for the January-March period rose 50.8% compared with the first quarter last year.

Reuters noted that, from January, the finance ministry raised the special consumption tax on passenger vehicles to 40% from 24%, but industry officials said consumers, who know the increase is part of a plan to raise the tax to 80% by 2007, snapped up vehicles to beat future hikes.