New vehicle sales in Vietnam continued to drift lower in May, by 3.2% to 21,829 units from 22,553 units a year earlier, according to member data released by the Vietnam Automotive Manufacturers Association (VAMA).
The data do not include some non-affiliated brands, meaning the actual market size is larger than these figures suggest.
This is the third consecutive monthly decline for the market, driven lower by a sharp drop in commercial vehicle sales. Passenger car sales rebounded last month, by 5.4% 12,441 units, after declining sharply in April.
Economic growth slowed sharply in the first quarter of 2017 to an estimated 5.1% year-on-year from 6.8% in the fourth quarter of 2016. Agricultural output was affected by adverse weather conditions during the quarter, while the manufacturing sector was held back by a sharp decline in output at Samsung – the country's largest exporter.
In the first five months of the year the overall vehicle market was still slightly higher at 102,737 units, compared with 101,799 units a year earlier, helped by a sharp sales rise in February.
Passenger vehicle sales were up by 8.1% at 60,702 units in this period, from 56,166 units a year earlier, while commercial vehicle sales fell by 7.9% to 42,035 units compared with 45,633 units previously.
Toyota was the leading brand in the first five months of the year with sales rising by 9% to 22,823 units. Truong Hai (Thaco) group, the local assembler and distributor of brands such as Kia, Mazda, Peugeot and Hyundai, reported a 7% drop in group sales to 40,600 units.
Ford's sales rose by 6% to 11,921 units in the five-month period, while GM's sales rose by 35% to 4,821 units and Honda's were 24% higher at 4,444 units.