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Vietnam’s car sales up 141 percent in first half   2008-07-10 - Reuters

Car sales in Vietnam during the first half of this year nearly tripled from the same period last year, the Vietnam Automobile Manufacturers Association said Tuesday, despite slowing economic growth.




The volume sold by 17 car makers surged 141 percent to 68,609 units in the six months to end June, the association said in its monthly report.

Sales last month were up 60 percent from June 2007, reaching 9,749 units.

The Southeast Asian country’s economic growth slowed in the first half to an estimated 6.5 percent compared with the same period of 2007, when the annual growth was 7.91 percent.

Toyota retained its lead among the 12 manufacturers backed by foreign firms, selling 12,510 cars from January to June, up 53 percent from the same period last year.

The government planned to raise registration fees to up to 15 percent this year from 5 percent now and is also mulling further import tax hikes to help reduce worsening road congestion, which dealers said have prompted purchases to surge.

Vietnam has already raised tariffs on imported cars to 83 percent from 70 percent previously.

Car imports in the first six months surged 247 percent to $1.6 billion, with the volume of fully assembled vehicles jumping more than 400 percent to 42,000 units, government figures show.

Ford Motor Co., Honda Motor Co. Ltd., Mitsubishi Motors Corp., Mitsubishi Co. and Proton, Suzuki Motor Corp. and Nissho Iwai, part of Sojitz Holdings Corp. are among foreign firms which assemble cars in Vietnam.

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