New vehicle sales in Vietnam plunged by over 52% to 15,211 units in January from 31,799 units in the same month of last year, according to wholesale data released by the Vietnam Automotive Manufacturers Association (VAMA).

Despite strong economic growth in the country last year, averaging 7%, the domestic vehicle market began to weaken in the fourth quarter with confidence affected by growing concerns about slowing global growth. Sales declined 4% in the fourth quarter of 2019 while full year sales were up 11% to 306,073 units.
Sales in January were affected by the Lunar New Year holidays and also by growing concerns over the spread of the coronavirus from China. Passenger vehicle deliveries fell by over 52% to 12,490 units from 26,286 units a year earlier while commercial vehicle sales were down by over 51% at 2,721 units from 5,513 units.

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 almost 51% drop in group sales to 5,056 units last month. This includes a 64% plunge in Mazda sales to 1,871 units and a 43% drop in Kia sales to 1,972 units.

Toyota remained the leading vehicle brand in January, albeit with sales dropping by over 48% to 3,973 units, while Honda sales fell by close to 56% to 1,916 units.

Mitsubishi Motors outperformed the market, with a decline of 'just' 35% to 1,670 units.