10:14 | 03/10/2017 Society
An increasing proportion of Vietnamese plan to buy a car in the last six months of 2017, catching up with other ASEAN countries, according to the quarterly Financial Times Confidential Research (FTCR) ASEAN Auto Purchase Index that measured the six-month outlook for car sales among urban consumers.
The FTCR’s data from the past four years showed a steady increase in the number of Vietnamese intending to buy cars — gradually gaining on those in the Philippines, Indonesia, Thailand and Malaysia.
Over the past four years, the average proportion of urban consumers in those other ASEAN economies who intended to buy a car was about one in four. The average figure for Vietnam in 2016 and 2017 was just above 15 percent. However, this increased from 11.9 percent in 2013, the biggest rise among the five countries.
The narrowing gap suggested that strong economic growth over the past four years has translated into rising wages and greater discretionary spending among middle-class Vietnamese.
Official figures showed that car sales in Vietnam grew strongly from 2013 to 2016. Growth has been nearly flat in 2017, with consumers delaying their purchase until 2018 when the government will cut import duties for ASEAN member countries to zero from the current 30 percent.
Despite increasing interest in cars, motorcycles remain the most popular means of transport. In the first half of 2017, an average of 38 percent of Vietnamese consumers said they planned to buy a motorcycle in the last six months, 8.8 percentage points higher than the average for their regional peers.