Imports of completely built-up (CBU) cars in the January-July period have picked up 78.4 percent year-on-year to 667 million USD, a local newspaper reported.

The Saigon Times Daily cited the General Statistics Office (GSO) as saying that some 31,000 CBU units have been shipped into the country in the period, up 59.8 percent from a year earlier.

The recent report of GSO showed that in July alone, around 6,000 cars worth 122 million USD have been imported, rising by 122 percent in volume compared to last year’s same month, the highest monthly CBU car import in three years.

The most recent time when imports of CBU cars surpassed the latest figures is June 2011 with 7,000 units imported but the value remained the same at 122 million USD.

The CBU imports in the seven-month period are quite high as the auto market in the year’s first half grew only 30 percent and the total volume of cars assembled in the country inched up 24 percent year-on-year.

CBU imports have been accelerating in recent months.

Imports in the first two months of this year stayed at 3,000 units each with 65 million USD recorded in January and 51 million USD in February. The figures rose to 4,000 units in March and April with respective costs of 84 million USD and 89 million USD.

In May, the number of imported cars went up to 5,000 units worth 106 million USD.

A representative of the Vietnam Automobile Manufacturers Association (VAMA) said the growth of CBU cars has been higher than that of CKD cars since the year’s beginning. He added that auto importers and distributors mostly import cars based on orders of their clients and the increasing imports demonstrate the improving demand of well-to-do customers.

According to auto traders, the high imports of CBU cars partly result from the auto market slightly recovering after a long time of decline as the domestic economy has turned stable and access to bank loans has now been made easier.

Besides, the tax rate imposed on cars imported from ASEAN countries is lowered from 60 percent to 50 percent from this year.

Cars imported from outside ASEAN countries are of luxury brands and priced at billions of Vietnam dong, but the demand for such cars is also rising.

Expecting the auto market to keep increasing in the coming time, VAMA has revised up the auto consumption forecast from 120,000 to 130,000 units, higher than last year’s 110,519 units.

In related news, VinaMazda has reduced the retail prices of the two versions of Mazda 6, with 998 million VND for Mazda 6 2.0L (down 126 million VND) and 1.159 billion VND for the 2.5L version (down 111 million VND). In addition to these discounts, VinaMazda is offering many valuable accessories to customers.

According to statistics of VAMA, some 210 Mazda 6 cars were sold in the year’s first half.-VNA