Vietnam and Brunei were the only two auto markets among members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to have turnover plunge this year, according to a report by the ASEAN Automotive Federation.
Specifically, Vietnam sold 4.2 percent fewer cars as of November this year compared to the same period last year, a drop from nearly 193,000 cars to just under 185,000.
The fall was only behind Brunei, which saw a plunge of seven percent year-on-year, from over 9,400 cars to around 8,700 in 2017.
Meanwhile, the markets like Thailand, the Philippines, Indonesia and Malaysia reported growth rates of 1-1.5 percent over the same period.
Myanmar’s recent opening of its market has resulted in car sales rocketing by 80 percent between 2016 and 2017, from 2,900 to 5,300 vehicles.
Overall, the ASEAN automotive market saw a collective expansion of 5.6 percent, with growth rates forecast to remain slow in December despite the beginning of end-of-season sales.
Experts attribute dropping car sales in Vietnam to the fact that consumers are waiting for cheaper cars to become available next year as the country is set to reduce tax on imported auto parts within the ASEAN bloc to 0 percent starting January 1, 2018, which has been made official via a government decree earlier this week.
ASEAN is a political and economic organization whose current members include Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam.
In 2009, its members signed the ASEAN Trade In Goods Agreement (ATIGA), which set the timeline for the gradual reduction of import tariffs among the member countries until 2018, including the lowering of taxes on imported motorized vehicles to zero by that year.