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Automotive Report Vietnam May 2018

Automotive Report Vietnam May 2018

  • May 2018
  • ID: 3006384
  • Format: PDF


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  • Vietnam's automotive market is small relative to its population of around 95m, owing to years of international isolation and low incomes. However, vehicle sales rose sharply starting in 2013 and set consecutive annual records in 2014-16, according to the Vietnam Automobile Manufacturers' Association (VAMA). These data cover both VAMA members and other vehicle-makers. The recovery was driven by solid export-led GDP growth, tariff cuts for car imports and lower interest rates.
  • However, in 2017 vehicle sales were down to 272,500 units. Declines were seen across the board, with car sales down by 15.4% and those of commercial vehicles and buses (CVs) down by 2.9%. The car market worsened towards the end of last year, although CV sales picked up in the final months. In January-April 2018, the situation reversed, with car sales increasing by 9% year on year, while CVs were down 16%.
  • The gains in the car market mainly reflected the fact that tariffs on imported cars fell to zero in January 2018 under the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN) free-trade agreement. For the year as a whole, The Economist Intelligence Unit expects car sales to grow by 7.5% over the 2017 level. The CV market will report a decline of 10% from its current high level.
  • Lower trade barriers will continue to support sales over the forecast period. We also forecast that Vietnam's GDP growth will remain very strong, averaging 6.5% a year in 2018-22, fuelling growth in vehicle demand. Despite another drop in 2020, the car market will see a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 5% in 2018-22, while the CV market will report a CAGR of 4.1%. The market will remain slightly volatile, however.
  • Vietnam's automotive industry should benefit from low labour costs and government backing, along with the expected rise in domestic and export demand. This should attract increased investment into production, despite the small market size. However, output may also suffer from competition with imports from bigger ASEAN members such as Thailand and Indonesia.

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