Car market slowdowns at year-end
Car dealers at many firms in Vietnam are complaining about slow sales as it approaches the end of 2019.
Various discount programmes have been launched this year for over 20 models. Some models were discounted up to VND300m (USD13,000). However, they failed to attract new customers. Dealers admitted that a discount of VND30m to VND40m is no longer an effective incentive so firms have to offer even more discounts. The dealers have to find customers via social media platforms or acquaintances.
A salesperson for Toyota in Hanoi said, "Our inventory is still high but new models have already been released and the prices are the same. Discount programmes are vital in order to expand market share and recover the capital by the end of the year. It will be even more difficult to sell old models next year."
He went on to say that in November, they were only able to sell 50-60% of the cars compared to the same period last year.
Nguyen Khanh, head of the Business Department for a Ford showroom in Hanoi said, "Supply has surpassed demand. Normally, more cars are imported at the end of the year because there are Tet bonuses. But this year, it looks like the customers are still waiting for even further discounts."
"We used to be able to sell two or three cars a month but we couldn't find any customer this month," Hoang Cuong, a Nissan dealer in Hanoi, said. "We work hard all year round for Tet bonuses but everything looks grim this year. If this continues, I may have to find another job with more stable wages."
Thao Truong, a Mitsubishi employee, is also in the same situation. Truong said she had sold 28 cars since early 2019, a drop of 50% compared to 2018 which means her Tet bonus would be much less.
Statistics from Vietnam Customs show that 120,000 cars were imported into Vietnam in the past 10 months at very competitive prices.
Members of the Vietnam Automobile Manufacturers' Association reported that they have sold 259,282 cars in 10 months, an increase of 16% compared to the same period last year. Most were imported cars and the number is much lower compared to the set goal of a 30% increase.
It is forecasted that the car prices will continue to drop this year as there will be more discount programmes to clear the inventory.
Vietnam’s automobile industry is small compared to regional markets and local suppliers are asking for more support from the Government.
Experts believe that in the immediate time, Laos and Cambodia will not be rivals on the same par with Vietnam.