Car traders brought into Vietnam a large number of cars in the first half of June, prior to a new import rule that took effect on Sunday.
Car imports rose 42 percent compared to the first half of May, totaling 3,133 units with a value of US$52.2 million, news website VnExpress reported Monday, citing customs statistics. Imported vehicles of under nine seats accounted for 63 percent.
The report said car imports as of June 15 reached nearly 30,000 units.
Industry insiders said the import surge is a response to the new rule that requires importers of cars of less than nine seats to show proof that they are authorized dealers for the foreign carmakers. The documents have to be notarized by Vietnamese diplomatic representatives in the country of origin.
Many importers have protested the rule, fearing that they will have to shut down business. Trade officials, however, stood by their decision and said the new rule will help curb trade deficit and protect local consumers.
VnExpress cited a customs official as saying the number of imported cars will fall because of the rule.
Pham Huu Tam, director of car trading firm Tradoco, said importers just had their "final moment before fading out." He said the market will worsen as there are fewer cars and demand has been dampened by economic difficulties.
Tam said his company has not obtained necessary documents to import more cars under the new regulation. "We don't even know how to have this "˜ticket'," he said.