Vietnam automobile sales soared 181% in the first four months of the year, driven by a sharp rise in the commercial vehicle segment, a group of manufacturers said on Thursday.

AFP reported that the 16 members of the Vietnamese Automobile Manufacturers' Association (VAMA) who produced automobiles in the period said they sold a total of 47,366 units between January and April.

The increase was mainly pushed by a 313% jump in commercial vehicle sales year-on-year with 29,745 units sold, while passenger car sales went up 105% to 7,791 units, VAMA said in its report.

In April alone, vehicle sales increased 183% year-on-year, reaching 13,271 units, the report said.

AFP said that Vinamotor topped the list in the number of units sold in the period with 11,230 cars, followed by Toyota and Truong Hai with 7,896 and 7,492 units sold respectively.

In the first four months, Vietnam also imported about 28,000 cars, an increase of 470% year-on-year, and worth a combined 483m dollars, the state-run General Statistic Office told AFP.

Rapid market growth is seen as partly preempting planned tax hikes.