Vietnam March auto sales drop 16 pct year-on-year: industry

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Vietnamese auto sales in March fell 16 percent from the same month in 2009 to 9,298 units after an annual fall of 25 percent in February, an industry report said on Wednesday.

Sales in February were affected by the Lunar New Year holiday and just 5,030 vehicles were sold on the domestic market, the Vietnam Automobile Manufacturers Association said in a monthly report.

Combined sales by 16 members of the association in the first quarter fell 2 percent from a year before to 21,289 units, the report said.

Japan's Toyota Motor Corp sold 7,128 cars in the January-March period, an increase of 33.5 percent from a year before, retaining its position as top seller in Vietnam.

Vietnam's economy grew an estimated 5.83 percent in the first quarter from a year earlier, versus annual growth of 3.1 percent in the same period in 2009, government data showed.

The World Bank forecast on Wednesday that Vietnam's economy would grow 6.5 percent this year, as targeted by the government.

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