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HANOI: More and more small cars with price tags of US$9,000 upward will be imported to or launched in Vietnam in the coming years, Xinhua news agency reported, citing local media.

Daihatsu, whose key auto factory is in Indonesia, plans to bring its small model Ayla priced at over US$8,800 to Vietnam in 2018, online newspaper VietNamNet reported, noting that Ayla is similar to Wigo introduced by Toyota Vietnam recently.

Two Malaysian carmakers, Proton and Perodua, which account for 48 per cent of Malaysia's auto market share, are likely to penetrate into the Vietnamese market after 2018, Xinhua reported.

Proton currently has eight models with prices ranging from over US$8,800 to US$31,000, and Perodua has four models with price tags of US$5,800-US$16,000.

Meanwhile, foreign automakers in Vietnam will launch similar small cars targeting medium income earners, the newspaper reported.

Vietnam's automobile sales in the first eight months of this year were 177,037 units, down six per cent against the same period last year, said the Vietnam Automobile Manufacturers Association.

Automobile sales are likely to increase next year when import taxes on vehicles will be slashed to zero per cent in line with the ASEAN Free Trade Area, local experts said.

Vietnam spent nearly US$3.5 billion importing completely-built automobiles and components for assembly from January to August, posting a year-on-year decline of 10.6 per cent, according to the country's Ministry of Industry and Trade. -- BERNAMA

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