The number of automobiles imported into Vietnam has dropped precipitously since the implementation of stricter regulations and higher taxes on auto imports, according to the General Department of Customs.

The number of cars imported has fallen by about 50 percent in the past month, from 3,130 in the first half of June to just 1,500 in the same period of July, the department said.

Under Ministry of Industry and Trade Circular No 20, importers have to document that they are authorised sales agents by providing certificates or letters of authority from the vehicle manufacturer.

"With the implementation of the new regulation, unauthorised dealers will face obstacles in importing cars, and this will directly affect domestic sales," said Ford Thang Long Joint Stock Co sales consultant Chu Ngoc Hai.

Unauthorised dealers might have to abandon the market to domestic automobile assemblers since those enterprises were able to meet permit conditions, said Tay Bac Auto Joint Stock Co chief executive officer Ho Khac Hung.

A 20 percent rise increase in automobile registration taxes, effective on September 1, was also having a negative impact on auto imports.

A number of other factors were affecting the auto market, including tight credit and high interest rates, said Thien An Phuc Co director Nguyen Tuan./.