Auto prices drop but customers in neutral

Vietnamese automakers and importers have been racing to reduce the price of many models in recent months ahead of the zero-tariff policy for car imports from ASEAN nations that goes into effect on January 1, 2018.

However, customers are waiting for prices to drop even further.

Auto firms have decreased prices by between VND10 million (US$473) and nearly VND200 million for each car in recent months.

According to a report from the Vietnam Automobile Manufacturers’ Association (VAMA), 154,930 units were sold in the January to July period, down six per cent compared with the same period last year.

VAMA attributed the decline to customers waiting for prices to be lowered further.

Toyota Motors Vietnam (TMV), which initially ignored the price reduction trend, has also recently jumped on to the bandwagon. The corporation last month started providing customers with the VND30 million registration fee for the Toyota Vios and VND40 million for the Corolla Altis. This programme will continue until the end of this month.

An employee of Toyota Long Biên said this was support being provided by TMV for all its customers of the Vios and the Corolla Altis. Meanwhile, customers also enjoyed discounts at Toyota agents worth VND65 million for Vios and more than VND100 million for Corrolla Altis.

Trường Hải Auto Coporation (Thaco), which occupies the country’s largest market share and is the distributor of Kia, Mazda and Peugeot, has been discounting the prices of cars on a monthly basis.

Bùi Kim Kha, deputy general director of Thaco, said besides the company’s promotional programme, its showrooms had also conducted their own promotional programmes, due to which the current prices of cars had touched the bottom and could not go any lower.

This month, Thaco once again reduced the prices of the Kia and Mazda models. The price of Kia models was lowered by VND1-10 million per car, particularly the Kia Quorios which was discounted by VND40 million. Meanwhile, the corporation cut the prices of Mazda models by VND10-25 million, of which the 2017 version Mazda 6 had the maximum discount.

The corporation will apply the same prices at its distribution network nationwide, Kha said.

Not out of the game, Hyundai Thành Công is also launching a promotional programme with discounts of up to VND70 million for the SantaFe and Elantra.

General director of Hyundai Thành Công Lê Ngọc Đức said the programme was part of the company’s activities supporting its customers. It did not only help reduce the price of the car but also enhance the value of service.

Insiders said the reduction in car prices by rivals forced many automakers to follow to attract customers, which is why auto firms repeatedly launched promotional programmes with discounts ranging from dozens to hundreds of millions of dong on each product.

However, not every model has attracted customers despite the discount. Imported model SUV Outlander Sport of Mitsubishi Vietnam was down by nearly VND130 million and SUV grand Vitara imported by Suzuki Vietnam was down by VND170 million, but both have not been bought for several months.

Even new models such as the upgraded Navara and Nissan Vietnam’s X-Trail’s limited version were discounted by up to VND45 million, however sales were moderate.

Matrix of price reduction

Many auto agents on Hà Nội’s streets of Giải Phóng, Nguyễn Văn Linh and Lê Văn Lương said at times, automakers did not give a discount, but they still reduced the selling price to cut losses, circulate capital and receive new versions from the automakers.

The prices of cars have significantly reduced in comparison with last year, but the prevailing issue is whether customers spend money to buy new cars or continue waiting for the price to be lowered.

Nguyễn Tuấn, a resident in the capital city’s Linh Đàm area, said due to the promotional programmes from various automakers, many customers were undecided on auto firms and models.

“I have benchmarked the price of car models of several agents in the market. The agents’ employees all said it’s the best time to buy a car, since such a good opportunity will be rare in the future. However, several days later, their promotional programmes were even better because automakers and agents joined hand to compete with their rivals,” Tuấn said.

Vũ Anh Phương from L‎ý Thường Kiệt Street in Hà Nội said he wanted to replace his old Civic car with a new one, but he was undecided between the Toyota Altis and Mazda 3 – both in fierce competition to gain market share.

The promotional programmes have evinced interest in customers; however, the difference in selling price of the same model among showrooms and agents has led to customers being unsure if this is the final discounted price of the car – leading to a mindset of waiting for prices to be lowered further.

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