LandWind X7, a copycat of Range Rover Evoque? (Photo:www.autocar.co.uk)
Vietnamese consumers are buying fewer vehicles from China as they gradually recognize Chinese products have low quality, unreliable durability and counterfeit designs.
In less than a decade, six Chinese auto manufacturers entered Vietnam either through shipping completely built up (CBU) cars or setting up completely knocked down joint ventures.
At first, they sold well thanks to low prices. However, brand names such as Chery, BYD, Geely, Lifan and MG have nearly disappeared from the Vietnamese market while Haima, Changan and BAICchi seem to be living agonizing days.
The low-cost strategy of Chinese auto makers is now counterproductive. To reduce costs, they have cut down on expenses for safety tests, used cheap materials and counterfeited designs of other countries. Nevertheless, Vietnamese users, especially wealthy and middle-class ones, are increasingly aware of safety and their social status.
According to data of the General Department of Vietnam Customs, Vietnam spent $1.2 billion on importing 49,890 CBU cars in the first six months of this year, down 9.1% and 19.3% from a year earlier.
The volume of Chinese-made cars dropped 59% year-on-year to 6,972 while their value also plunged 59% to $266.8 million in the six-month period.
Meanwhile, Thailand has surpassed China and South Korea to become the largest supplier for Vietnam, with 15,117 units worth $276.55 million, thanks to a rise in demand for pickup trucks.