HANOI, Mar 20 (Xinhua): Fuelled by wider opening of Vietnam's automobile industry to the outside world, and rising affluence of local people, the country's car market, though cooling down, will become effervescent in the coming years.
That the Vietnamese government has recently allowed the import of second-hand cars from May 1, one of moves indicating its commitments to regional and international integration roadmaps, will incite many people already in or currently on the verge of the moneyed classes to purchase less expensive foreign cars with different models.
Under a recent government decree on management of imports and exports in the 2006-2010 period and a provisional agreement reached by relevant ministries and sectors, second-hand cars eligible for import (having been used for no more than five years) will bear a tariff of 150 per cent, compared with that of 90 per cent imposed on new ones. Many local trading companies said there are four most potential markets from which Vietnamese traders import used cars: the United States, Australia, Laos and Cambodia.
According to estimation of the Traffic Police Bureau of Hanoi capital, after second-hand cars are imported into Vietnam, the number of both new and used automobiles being registered for circulation in the country will increase to 3,000- 4,000 each month. Hanoi alone now houses 152,000 registered automobiles and 1.6 million motorbikes.
In February, 11 automobile joint ventures in Vietnam made total sales of 1,467 units, including 358 cars with no more than 5 seats, down 3.3 per cent against January, the Vietnam Automobile Manufacturers Association (VAMA) said, noting that Toyota Vietnam gained the lion's share of 44.9 per cent, followed by Ford Vietnam with 19.2 per cent.
The joint ventures sold a total of 35,264 vehicles in 2005, down 13.8 per cent against 2004. Meanwhile, Vietnam imported 17,000 automobiles totaling 280 million dollars, seeing respective decreases of 24.3 per cent and 13.2 per cent against 2004, according to the country's General Statistics Office.
Vietnam posted economic growth of 8.4 per cent in 2005, up from nearly 7.8 per cent in 2004. The average monthly income per capita in the country was 484,000 Vietnamese dong (over 30.4 dollars) from 2003 to 2004, up 36 per cent against the 2001-2002 period, according to a recent survey by the statistics office.
By mid-2005, every 145 Vietnamese people had a car, compared with the rate of 4-5 in Malaysia, 9-10 in Thailand and 30-32 in the Philippines, the VAMA said.