More Vietnamese in urban areas plan to buy cars this year. (Photo: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) – More Vietnamese in urban areas plan to buy cars this year after the tax rate of complete built-up units imported from ASEAN countries fell to zero percent from January 1, experts from the Auto Purchase Index of Financial Times Confidential Research (FTCR) said.

Vietnam’s Auto Purchase Index (API) jumped 9.4 points from the previous quarter to 73 points in the first quarter of this year, a record high for the country and the highest among five ASEAN nations, namely Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam.

The massive influx of made-in-Thailand and Indonesia cars started to reach Vietnamese consumers as many administrative procedures have been removed.

Meanwhile, the API for the whole region fell to 56.6 points from 58.4 recorded in the fourth quarter last year. Consumers in the other four ASEAN economies surveyed indicated weaker purchase sentiment. The Philippines saw the sharpest decline, mainly due to higher car excise duties effective from January.

Strongest demand for motorbike was seen in Vietnam and Indonesia, which rose 8.2 and 8.3 points to 61.7 and 66.5 points, respectively, in the quarter. However, experts said that Indonesian sentiment for motorbike purchases will not be sustainable given the market’s maturity.

The FTCR ASEAN Auto Purchase survey is based on interviews with 5,000 consumers in Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam.

The FTCR is an independent research service from the UK’s Financial Times, providing analysis and insight into China and Southeast Asia.-VNA