New vehicle sales in Vietnam increased by less than 1% to 20,746 units in August, from 20,569 units in the same month of last year, 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 follows a sharp decline in July, with the overall trend negative in recent months after four years of exceptionally strong growth. The market last month was supported by recovering demand for commercial vehicles.

Economic growth in the country is estimated to have rebounded to 6.2% year-on-year in the second quarter, from 5.1% in the first quarter, driven by strong manufacturing and construction sector activity.

In the first eight months of the year the overall vehicle market was just under 2% lower at 165,586 units, from 168,813 units a year earlier. Passenger vehicle sales were still up by 3.3% at 97,699 units in this period, while commercial vehicle sales fell by 8.6% to 67,887 units.

Toyota was the leading brand in the first eight months of the year with sales rising by 17% to 39,723 units. Truong Hai (Thaco) group, the local assembler and distributor of brands such as KIA, Mazda, Peugeot and Hyundai, and a significant player in the commercial vehicle segment, reported a 16% drop in group sales to 60,956 units.

Ford's sales rose by 3% to 19,081 units in the eight-month period, while Honda's sales were 17% higher at 7,683 units and GM's 23% higher at 7,254 units.