New vehicle sales in Vietnam fell by 29.5% to 7,201 units in September, from 10,216 units a year earlier, according to data released by the Vietnam Automotive Manufacturers Association.

Sales of passenger cars and SUVs were down by more than 33% at 4,099 units, compared with 6,134 units a year earlier, as consumers and business continued to struggle with high lending costs and inflation, and also high automotive taxes.

Sales of commercial vehicle sales were down by 28.5% at 2,919 units, from 4,082 units.

Cumulative sales for the January-September period were down by just less than 30% at 57,315 units, from 81,766 units in the same period last year - a further indication of the long-term nature of the struggle the domestic economy is undergoing.

Truong Hai, which assembles Kia cars and various commercial vehicles, regained its market lead despite a 26.1% decline in sales to 17,300 units in the first nine months of 2012.

Toyota was a close second with 16,255 units (-26.5%); followed by GM-Daewoo with 4,100 (-44.2%).