New vehicle sales in Vietnam jumped by close to 45% to 30,055 units in March 2019 from 20,744 units a year earlier, according to member wholesale data released by the Vietnam Automotive Manufacturers Association (VAMA).

The market continued to recover from weak sales in 2018 when the introduction of new regulations had a severe impact on vehicle imports.

Economic growth in Vietnam remained strong at an estimated 6.8% year on year in the first quarter though moderately slower compared with 7.1% in the fourth quarter of 2018. 

Vehicle sales in the first quarter were up by more than 25% at 73,297 units from 58,541 units in the same period of last year, driven by a 43% jump in passenger vehicle sales to 56,668 units from 39,558 units a year earlier, while commercial vehicle sales fell by 9% to 17,259 units from 18,983 units previously.

Truong Hai (Thaco) group, the local assembler and distributor of brands such as Kia, Mazda, Peugeot and Hyundai and a significant player in the commercial vehicle segment, reported a 9.5% drop in group sales to 22,636 units in the three month period.

Mazda sales were up by 3.5% at 9,497 units, while Kia sales increased by 6.7% to 7,489 units.

Toyota remained the leading vehicle brand in the country in the first quarter, with sales rebounding by close to 52% to 18,967 units from depressed year-earlier volumes, while Honda sales jumped by 143% to 8,687 units.

Ford sales also recovered strongly, by almost 39% to 7,500 units, while GM volume continued to plunge, by 70% to 728 units.