Automotive sales in Vietnam reached 157,810 vehicles in 2014, up 43 percent compared to 2013, according to the latest report by the Vietnam Automobile Manufacturers' Association (VAMA).
Last year, sales of personal cars increased by 43 percent year on year, topping 100,000 units, while sales of trucks grew by 42 percent over 2013 to reach nearly 57,371 vehicles, VAMA said in its January report.
Particularly, in the last month of 2014, 20,208 vehicles were sold in Vietnam, up 27 percent compared to the previous month and up 53 percent compared with the same period in 2013.
This was the 21st consecutive month automotive sales saw a year-on-year growth rate in the country and was the highest number of monthly vehicle sales in the last three years.
Specifically, the number of personal cars and trucks sold in December reached 13,221 units and about 7,000 units, up 31 percent and 19 percent compared with the previous month.
The production of cars assembled locally hit 13,440 vehicles, down 16 percent month on month, while the number of imported vehicles, or completely built units (CBU), was 6,768 units, up 55 percent compared with November.
By the end of December 2014, sales of locally assembled vehicles had risen by 32 percent, whereas sales of CBUs went up by 83 percent over the same period of the previous year.
The General Statistics Office (GSO) of Vietnam last week reported that the Southeast Asian country last year spent US$1.57 billion on importing 72,000 vehicles, surging by 103.8 percent and 117.3 percent in volume and value compared to 2013, respectively.
Both the imported volume and value of foreign-made vehicles were the highest rates ever, the GSO said.
In December, about 10,000 vehicles worth $227 million were imported, the statistics office added.
According to VAMA, the Vietnamese market also witnessed fierce competition for the number-one position in car sales between local firm Truong Hai Automobile Co. (Thaco) and Japanese carmaker Toyota.
In December, Thaco sold about 5,000 vehicles, around 290 units more than the over 4,710 Toyota cars sold during the month. The former took over the latter position in March last year, and has held the top spot since then.
Thaco says it is the only local company producing and assembling three lines of vehicles: passenger cars, trucks and buses, with the localization rate of 16-46 percent.
Thaco was the market leader with the number of cars sold hitting 42,339 vehicles in 2014, followed by Toyota (40,820), Ford (13,988), Honda (6,492), and Vietnam GM (5,134).
In the January report, VAMA did not give a forecast of four-wheel vehicle sales for 2015 for the first time.
The association last year updated its forecast for automotive sales three times after turnover continually increased during the year.
In September, VAMA raised its sales forecast for 2014 to 145,000 units, up 15,000 units from the previously forecast 130,000 units in July.
It had revised its outlook to 125,000 units in March from 120,000 units given at the end of 2013.