New vehicle sales in Vietnam increased by almost 16% to 31,607 units in October 2020 from 27,271 units in the same month of last year, according to wholesale data released by the Vietnam Automotive Manufacturers Association (Vama ).

The vehicle market looks to be recovering from a sharp decline earlier in the year, after sales began to stabilise in the third quarter following an almost 30% decline in the first half of the year. Vietnam has avoided falling into recession this year thanks to early action to control the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has helped the domestic economy begin to normalise in the third quarter.

GDP growth is estimated to have expanded by 2.6% in the third quarter, after growing by 0.4% in the second quarter and by 3.7% in the first quarter, lifted by a surge in exports as the country benefited from the trade war between China and the US. Restrictions on international tourism remain a significant drag on the economy, however.

New vehicle sales in the first 10 months of the year declined by just over 17% to 204,144 units from 246,509 units a year earlier, including an 18% fall in passenger vehicle sales to 151,660 units and a 16% decline in commercial vehicle sales to 52,484 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 5% drop in group sales to 71,144 units YTD. This includes a 6% rise in Kia sales to 25,090 units and a 14% drop in Mazda sales to 23,370 units.

Toyota ‘s sales declined by close to 22% to 49,950 units year to date while Mitsubishi Motors sales were down by 12% at 20,354 units and Honda sales dropped by 33% to 18,258 units.