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The figures were up 2.9% in volume but down 15% in value.
The number of vehicles with nine seats or less reached 26,600 units worth US$449 million, marking an increase of 30.1% in volume and 13.5% in value year-on-year.
Indonesia ranked the top exporter of cars with nine seats or less to Vietnam, with 8,900 units at total value of US$171 million, up 66 times in volume and 103 times in value year-on-year. The average price was US$19, 300 each.
It was followed by Thailand with 6,600 units worth US$105 million, or 15,909US$ each on average, and India with 5,000 units worth US$23.6 million, or US$4,200 each on average.
Meanwhile, Vietnam imported 338 cars with nine seats or more during the first half of this year at total value of US$10 million, declining by 31% in volume and 30.5% in value compared with the same period last year. Japan took the lead with 190 units worth US$5 million.
The country’s auto part manufacturing industry also had a good opportunity to participate in the production chain in ASEAN since its rival Thailand faced a shortage of skillful workers.
Chris Humphrey, executive director of the EU-ASEAN Business Council based in Singapore, told the online newspaper VnExpress.net that Vietnamese producers had not only been reinforcing their position in the domestic market but also expanding exports, especially in its traditional market of ASEAN. The outlook for auto parts and components was therefore optimistic.
He said once the tariff barrier is lifted under the ASEAN free trade agreement in early 2018, it would allow Vietnam to produce parts and accessories to serve the auto industry in other countries in the region, citing the example of Thailand, a country lacking skilled workers.
Kasinee Phantteeranurak, project manager at leading Asian event organiser Reed Tradex Co, Ltd, said the European Union, Japan, the Republic of Korea and the US are potential markets for Vietnam. However, they are high-ranking manufacturers, therefore their demand in terms of quality, stability and accuracy was very high.