By on January 14, 2010

Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon.) Picture courtesy

The U.S.A. dispatches its Secretary of State to complain to Japan about less than 8000 vehicles exported from the U.S. not benefiting from the Japanese cash-o for clunker-u. At the same time, a new car market is starting to explode, without anybody noticing: Vietnam.

Vietnam imported 76,300 units in 2009, nearly 10 times the U.S. exports to Japan. The increase was 51 percent on the year, an all-time high, the Nikkei [sub] reports. Sales of domestically manufactured vehicles were 115,000 units in 2009, up only 3 percent, but still a record. A total market of some 200,000 units is not much compared to neighbor China, but it’s a strong start.

Auto demand in Vietnam has been picking up especially fast in the third quarter of 2009, when the country’s economy turned around. The Nikkei reports that import dealers are springing up in major towns, such as Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. Traffic congestion is becoming a problem. The population of Vietnam is 86m, slightly more than Germany.

Any car manufacturer that is not present in the growth markets of Asia will perish. The Japanese have a large footprint in Vietnam. The chairman of the Vietnam Automobile Manufacturers’ Association (VAMA) is Akito Tachibana, president of Toyota Vietnam. He projects further growth for 2010.

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6 Comments on “Car Imports Boom In Vietnam...”

  • avatar
    Cammy Corrigan

    Blimey, did I read correctly? Toyota have some good news, for a change?
    I kid, I keeeed. Toyota are slowly growing in South East Asia and sewing up Oceania. Toyota have some bright spots,but  need to make their traditional big market work so more profit flows in. Japan seems OK, it’s just that North American market which is the stumbling block.
    Mind you, Vietnam? I thought they were bike-centric there?

  • avatar

    I thought they were bike-centric there?

    So was China ….

    • 0 avatar
      Cammy Corrigan

      This is true my teutonic friend, but Vietnam’s standard of living and wages are nowhere near what China has (not that I’m saying people in China earn a fortune). It still doesn’t sit right.

    • 0 avatar

      Vietnam’s wage disparity is more evident than China. When I was in HCMC in October, I saw more Bentley Flying Spur’s in one day than I’ll see in Vancouver or Toronto in a year.  I’d say 90% of local vehicles are motorbikes, 7% are commercial vehicles and taxis, and 3% are private cars. But of that 3%, I estimate maybe a third of that are luxury brands, a far larger proportion than a typical American or Canadian major city.

  • avatar

    A lot of  the very light industry stuff, especially textiles, has left China and has gone to Vietnam.  Salaries supposedly lower. But also a way to get around quotas.

  • avatar

    The population of Vietnam is 86m, slightly more than Germany

    A total market of some 200,000 units is not much compared to neighbor China, but it’s a strong start.
    Context is everything. This is kind of a virgin market.
    I guess the motorcycle market is also exploding… if it didn’t already.

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