New vehicle sales in Vietnam declined by just over 3.7% to 19,601 units in August 2020 from 20,363 in the same month of last year, according to wholesale data released by the Vietnam Automotive Manufacturers Association (VAMA).

The market had begun to stabilise after declining by almost 30% to 102,720 sales in the first half of the year. Vietnam so far had coped better than most countries in Asia with the coronavirus pandemic, thanks to early pre-emptive action taken by the central government. 

The economy continued to grow in the second quarter, by just under 0.4% year on year after 3.7% in the first quarter and 7% in the whole of 2019, while most economies in the region shrank in the second quarter. 

Domestic economic activity in the country was beginning to return to normal while exports in the first half rose 3.7%. Foreign direct investment was negative in this period, however, and the country was, and is, still closed to foreign tourist arrivals.

New vehicle sales in the first eight months of the year declined by just over 24% to 145,689 units from 192,180 a year earlier, including a more than 25% decline in passenger vehicle sales to 106,689 units from 143,109 while commercial vehicle sales were down by just over 20% at 39,000 units from 49,071.

Truong Hai (Thaco) group, the local assembler and distributor of Kia, Mazda and Peugeot and a significant player in the commercial vehicle segment, reported a 16% drop in group sales to 49,940 units in the eight month period. This included a 27% plunge in Mazda sales to 16,099 and an 11% drop in Kia volume to 16,551.

Toyota sales fell by close to 30% to 34,743 units year to date while Honda sales were also down by 30% to 14,850 units and Mitsubishi Motors volume fell 10% to 14,719, underpinned by strong demand for the Xpander MPV.