Car sales plummet for fifth consecutive month: VAMA

Domestic car manufacturers sold just 8,884 cars during August, a 32 per cent fall from the previous month marking the fifth consecutive month car sales plummeted since April this year, said a report by the Vietnam Automobile Manufacturers' Association (VAMA), an organisation consisting of 17 automobile manufacturers in Viet Nam.

 

The pandemic was said to be the main culprit behind the dismal performance. For the first time since the 80s, factories were forced to close to check the spread of the virus and car showrooms had to lay off many workers as the industry recorded the lowest sales in the last ten years despite the implementation of numerous promotions and incentives programmes.

As the economy took a major hit since the beginning of the fourth novel coronavirus outbreak (in late April), demand has since been in free fall as cities and provinces across the country went into lockdown one after another. Economic downturns and mobility restrictions have been among the heaviest blows to the industry.

Hyundai, a consumer favourite and typically best-seller brand in the market, said they sold just over 2,100 cars in August, barely over half of their sales in July.

Even the up-and-comer VinFast, who led the market in August with 2,310 cars said their sales had fallen by over 40 per cent compared to July. Other brands have reported worse figures such as Mazda (-28 per cent), KIA (-34 per cent), Toyota (-38 per cent), Honda (-55 per cent), Ford (-70 per cent) and Mitsubishi (-76 per cent).

Total sales for the first eight months of the year recorded a drop of 13 per cent compared to the pre-pandemic level in 2019.

Many factories have been forced to shutter operations since April and as of now still have no plans to reopen. Those who were ready to resume operations said they were struggling to cope with a very high inventory level, said VAMA. To make matters worse, more than 200 showrooms and car retail outlets along with their service centres have not been able to reopen.

The industry is unlikely to make a comeback by the end of the year without rolling out massive sales incentive programmes, according to VAMA.

Earlier this year, the association submitted a proposal to halve registration fees for domestically manufactured automobiles. According to VAMA, the proposal, which has since stirred up a debate between local manufacturers and importers, was needed to support domestic car production and mitigate the damage caused by the pandemic.

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