Car sales dropped 37% from a year earlier to 17,891 vehicles in the first quarter of this year according to the Vietnam Association of Automobile Manufacturers (VAMA).

The market struggled because of falling demand for SUVs, MPVs and crossover models which fell 49% on year to 3,335 units. Sales of passenger and commercial vehicles were down 40.8% and 30% to 5,657 units and 8,510 units, respectively.

Local carmakers sold 7,525 vehicles during the month, down 21% against March last year but up 22% from February. Truong Hai Auto overtook Toyota to become the biggest seller during the month, with 2,788 vehicles sold, up 49% month on month. Toyota sold 2,069 units, up 12%.

Local car manufacturers all reported decreases in car sales between January and March, with the lowest fall of 13% at privately-owned Vinaxuki.

Falling vehicles sales are attributed to unfavourable foreign exchange rate movements, high interest and difficult access to bank loans. VAMA believes car sales could fall 20% this year, as a result of high registration cost and many other fees. The association has called for the delay of collecting traffic fees recently proposed by the ministry of transport.