These were the lowest automobile import figures in the last six years. There were five months which saw just less than 2,000 cars imported. The decrease is widely blamed on the economic downturn and the higher vehicle registration fees for Hanoi and HCM City.

Other fees that have been or may be levied, such as road maintenance fees or personal vehicle fees, also have the potential to make customers reluctant to buy cars.

Recently, the Prime Minister issued Resolution No. 02 to help the domestic industry. The resolution allows provinces and cities to lower the first registration fees from 20% to 10% for cars with fewer than 10 seats, and from 12% to 2% for the second registration.

However, the resolution also allows the localities to raise the first registration fees up to 50%, so that enterprises do not rely too heavily on the Hanoi and HCM City markets which are applying the fees of 20% and 15% respectively.

South Korean automobiles continued dominate the market, with 11,803 cars, accounting for 40% of imported vehicles in 2012. The runner-up was Thailand with 4,414 cars, China with 3,893 cars, India with 1,277 and Japan with 1,275.

Thailand dominated the spare parts market in Vietnam, with Japan and South Korea next on the list.

Last year the import turnover for spare parts that were imported for assembly and repair was USD1.46 billion, 28% less than previous year.

By Nhat Minh - Dan Tri International News - January 17, 2013