The domestic automobile market this month may see a decrease in both import volume and value for the first time, according to the General Statistics Office (GSO).

In August, the GSO estimated that the number of autos imported to Vietnam was only 4,000 units—down by 9.1 percent over last month. The total import value was worth only 78 million USD, a month-on-month decline of 18.8 percent.

According to market insiders, the import car market has been strongly affected by a number of new policies, economic conditions and Vietnamese people's thoughts that the seventh month of the lunar calendar is not a lucky time.

"The Government has issued many policies to limit imports for a long time. Now, these policies are becoming effective," said Nguyen Trung Hieu, an official from the Vietnam Automobile Manufacturers' Association (VAMA).

Hieu added that these policies were diversified. They were focused in many fields, including customs and tax.

"For example, importers have to show environmental protection certificates before they can make imports. And, tax loans are not allowed," Hieu said.

Credit-tightening policies of banks were also limiting car imports.

"Currently, not only the auto market, but other industries as well are also facing difficulties," Hieu concluded.

In previous months, the volume of imported autos was down, but import turnover had continued to increase.

In detail, the number of autos imported to Vietnam from May to July was 5,300, 4,600 and 4,400 units, respectively.

In May and June the market poured about 89 million USD each month for imports. The number increased to 96 million USD in July.

Experts attributed the value increase to the new trend of using luxury cars by domestic consumers.

It has been said that in the coming months, a car that costs about half a million dollars will come to Vietnam. Currently, a car worth more than 600,000 USD is being displayed in a showroom in the capital city of Hanoi./.