Car sales this month have already tripled those in November last year, with customers looking to avoid a new registration fee that becomes effective later this year.

Nguyen Sang, a car salesman from a dealership on Hanoi’s Pham Hung Street, said in the second half of December, his showroom sold more than 40 imported cars, including models such as Daewoo, Hyundai and Kia, while in November, they sold less than 10, with prices ranging from 23,000 USD and 55,500 USD per vehicle.

Dealerships experienced a sudden rush on the final day of December, selling 10-15 vehicles each, and now that figure was up to 20, Sang said.

Nguyen Ha Thoan, an employee of GP Auto Showroom, said customers are buying new cars in preparation for the new year and to avoid the imminent new registration fees.

Prospective buyer Hong Mai said that many of her friends had advised her to buy a car before the new number plate and registration fees came into effect. Mai bought a Toyota Yaris for 28,500 USD, saving her 18 million VND compared to the price she would have to pay next month.

Automobile traders attributed the rise in car sales to a Ministry of Finance policy that will raise registration fees from between 10 and 15 percent to 20 percent from the beginning of February. In addition, the number plate fee will increase by 1000 percent to 20 million VND per car.

The General Department of Customs is also going to apply new tax rates on imported cars and this has caused a further rush./.