Major automakers in Vietnam on December 12 reported a year-on-year sales surge of 6 percent in November, riding on aggressive discounts and continued popularity of smaller cars.

The Vietnam Automobile Manufacturers Association (VAMA) said 10,148 vehicles, including 3,988 cars and 6,160 trucks, were sold in November.

The northern region continued to be the biggest buyer with 4,231 units, followed by the south with 3,750 units and central region with 1,152 units.

"This is the eighth consecutive month the industry volume has been higher than the same period last year," VAMA chairman Jesus Metelo Arias said in a statement on December 12.

November's figures brought total auto sales in the first 11 months of the year to 85,061 units, up 18 per cent year-on-year, according to the association, which comprises the country's 18 leading automakers.

While the increase in November sales can be attributed to the traditional shopping peak towards the year-end, attractive discounts offered by the automakers have helped, industry insiders said.

In order to keep the market vibrant following the prolonged economic slowdown, most car makers reduced their retail prices by between 6 million VND (295 USD) and 58 million VND (3,330 USD).

While Toyota cut prices for its popular Corolla Altis sedans by 6 million VND, GM's Cruze Sedan was cheaper by 30 million VND (1,428 USD).

Mitsubishi offered a whopping 58 million VND (3,300 USD) discount, the biggest in the industry, on its Pajero Sport, and cut the price of its Triton pickup truck by 40 million VND (1,904 USD).

Even Suzuki, the Japanese car maker that very rarely has discount sales, cut the price of its compact Swift by 30 million VND.

Meanwhile, other car makers are offering many promotional gifts such as free car insurance, free car tuning packages and installment payment options at preferential interest rates.

As many as 2,500 cars worth 68 million USD were imported last month, according to the General Statistics Office (GSO).

It said a total of 31,000 cars worth 638 million USD were imported in the first 11 months, marking a year-on-year increase of 28.3 percent and 15 percent respectively.

Customs statistics showed that Vietnam's auto imports had fallen to a six-year low last year at just 27,000 cars, down 50 percent from 2011 figures.-VNA