Seventeen members of the Vietnam Automobile Manufacturing Association (VAMA) last month sold a total of nearly 6,120 vehicles, down 25 percent over the same period last year, but up a significant 43 percent since January, the association reported.

Compared with January, sales of trucks and commercial vehicles doubled to over 3,000 units, while sales of MPV/SUV vehicles grew 28 percent.

VAMA members launched no new products last month but their sales promotion programmes offered from the end of January helped increase February sales, especially in the sedan and MPV/SUV segments, the association said.

Truong Hai last month beat Japanese Toyota to take the first position on the market in terms of sales. The company's sales increased 114 percent to 1,872 vehicles, only about 30 units more than Toyota 's figure.

The "big two" were followed by Vinaxuki with 592 vehicles sold, and GM Vietnam, with 534 units.

Suzuki surprised the market with sales growing about 20 times to reach 360 vehicles in February, overtaking Ford (with 216 units) to rank fifth.

According to VAMA, several firms had significant sales growth last month including Mercedes-Benz Vietnam at 85 percent, Isuzu at 42 percent, and Vinamotor at 22 percent.

On the contrary, Honda Vietnam could sell only 14 Civic vehicles and no imported CR-V and Accord models.

In terms of best sellers, Toyota still led the market with two-thirds of the highest selling sedans for the month with about 820 Corolla Altis, Vios and Camry units sold.

Truong Hai followed closely, representing two-fifths of this group, with 394 Kia Morning/Picanto and Kia fore/Cerato units sold.

For the MPV/SUV segment, Toyota also took the lead as it accounted for two-fifths of the highest selling group, with 795 Innova and Fortuner vehicles sold, followed by Truong Hai with 138 Kia Carens units, Ford with 138 Everest units, and Nissan with 35 Livina units.

Many industry insiders said the domestic automobile market will remain quiet despite these satisfactory results. However the strong rally in February can be considered an optimistic sign for the market in the coming months.

Nguyen Van Thang, director of a Ford agent in Vietnam , told Thoi bao Kinh te Vietnam (Vietnam Economic Times) that though demand for cars is high, banks maintains tightened lending practices for car purchases and the taxes and fees increase. Therefore, customers have to think twice before buying the products.

"With the current situation, there will be few opportunities for manufacturers to increase sales like they did in 2011. It's likely that sales of VAMA members will significantly recover from the end of the second quarter," he told the newspaper.

In the first two months of the year, VAMA members sold nearly 10,400 vehicles, a year-on-year decrease of 44 percent. Toyota topped in two-month sales with 3,400 units, followed by Truong Hai with 2,700 units, and GM and Vinaxuki with a combined number of around 1,100 units.-VNA