New vehicle sales in Vietnam declined by 2.8% to 20,106 units in April 2019 from 20,678 units a year earlier, according to wholesale data released by the Vietnam Automotive Manufacturers Association (VAMA).
The slight decline in April followed a 25% bounce in the first quarter of the year from sharp declines a year earlier when the introduction of new regulations had a severe impact on vehicle imports. Economic growth in Vietnam remained strong in the first quarter at an estimated 6.8% year on year, though moderately slower than the 7.1% growth reported in the fourth quarter of 2018.
Vehicle sales in the first four months of 2019 were up by 18% at 93,403 units from 79,219 units a year earlier, driven by a 34% jump in passenger vehicle sales to 70,553 units. Commercial vehicle sales were almost 14% lower at 22,850 units in this period, however.
Truong Hai (Thaco) group, the local assembler and distributor of brands such as Kia, Mazda and Peugeot and a significant player in the commercial vehicle segment, reported an 8.6% drop in group sales to 30,784 units in the four month period. Mazda sales were up by 8.1% at 12,105 units, while Kia sales increased by 9.9% to 9,952 units.
Toyota remained the leading vehicle brand in the country in the first quarter, with sales rebounding by close to 38% to 23,155 units from depressed year earlier volumes, while Honda's sales jumped by close to 64% to 10,443 units. Ford 's sales also recovered strongly, by almost 43% to 9,660 units, while GM's sales continued to plunge – by 69% to 952 units.