Used-car imports plummeted up to 70 percent in August due to taxes being increased to 3,000 USD-17,000 USD per vehicle, depending on the size.

Only 199 secondhand cars were imported in the period, a fall of more than 70 percent over the same month last year.

Of the total figure, around 170 units were low-end vehicles, selling at 3,600 USD-4,000 USD each; 30 luxury cars, such as Audi, Lexus, Mercedes and BMW, sold for 20,000 USD-73,000 USD, most of which came into the country before the new tax rate became effective on August 15.

From that date, 1.0 litre passenger cars with less than 10 seats are being taxed 3,500 USD while those up to 1.5 litres 8,000 USD; passenger cars with 10-15 seats and of 2.0 litre capacity, less 9,500 USD; cars 2.0-3.0 litres 13,000 USD; larger than 3.0 litres 17,000 USD.

Used-car dealers were prepared for the drop off in sales, said a staff member of an auto showroom in Lang Ha street , Hanoi .

His company had not imported used-cars since August 15.

"We imported a large number before, so we'll sell what we have and wait for the Government to sort things out," he said.

Companies have been permitted to import used-cars since May 2006. At first around 10,000 units were imported in 2006-2007, of which 50 percent were luxury cars while the rest were vehicles which could not be produced locally, such as the Toyota Sienna, the Honda Odyssey, the Nissan Quest and the Murano.

Among other developments in the motor industry, Vietnam Daewoo Motor Co has been changed its name to GM Vietnam Co (GM Vietnam).

The company said in a press release that GM Vietnam would make Chevrolet its retail brand. At least three Chevrolet products were scheduled to be launched in Vietnam later this year with a focus on mini cars.

GM Vietnam currently ranked third in the automotive industry, accounting for 6.6 percent of the total market share in Vietnam .

Meanwhile, BMW Euro Auto said in a press release its sales had increased in the first eight months of this year, proving Vietnam was one of the leading growth markets in the region./.