New vehicle sales in Vietnam increased by close to 22% to 9,313 units in March, from 7,650 units in the same month of last year, according to data released by the Vietnam Automotive Manufacturers Association.

Sales in the first three months of the year were more than 29% higher at 24,168 units, from 18,692 units previously. The market continues to benefit from the strengthening domestic economy with lower interest rates and easing credit providing additional liquidity to consumers and small businesses.

The passenger vehicle segment led the market higher in the first quarter with combined sales of passenger cars, MPVs and SUVs rising by over 36% to 14,759 units, from 10,817 units a year earlier. Commercial vehicle sales increased by 17% to 8,811 units over the same period, from 7,537 units previously.

Toyota led the overall market in the first quarter with sales rising by close to 15% to 7,427 units, while Truong Hai (Thaco), which assembles Kias and various other commercial vehicles, also reported a 16% rise in sales to 5,609 units.

Third-placed Ford saw its sales rise by 57% to 2,421 units, while Honda’s sales increased almost fourfold to 1,743, thanks to strong demand for the City and CRV models.