Dealerships have been unable to meet new import rules implemented following a trade pact that started this year.
Vietnam imported just six cars with less than nine seats in the first 15 days of 2018, down 616.8 times from the same period last year.
In total, the country imported 60 completely built units (CBUs) in the first fortnight of the year, compared to 5,000 units in the same period last year, according to the General Department of Vietnam Customs.
This year’s imported automobiles have been valued at $5.6 million, falling from $116 million last year.
This drop in imports has been blamed on a new decree that was put in place on January 1, which car dealerships say is nigh-on impossible for them to adhere to.
The decree stipulates that traders should only be permitted to import automobiles if they can provide valid vehicle registration certificates issued by authorities from the countries of origin.
Original quality control certificates for each vehicle and letters of authorization regarding recalls of defective vehicles from the manufacturers are also required, along with copies of quality assurance certificates provided by the countries of origin.
Japanese auto manufacturers have decided to suspend exports to Vietnam following the stringent quality regulations.
Toyota has halted all production for export to the Vietnamese market, Nikkei said in a recent report.
The firm manufactures auto components in Vietnam, but imports of CBUs from Thailand, Indonesia and Japan account for around one-fifth of what it sells in the market, said the report.
Fellow Japanese giant Honda had previously planned to consolidate all production of its SUVs in Thailand to take advantage of a new tariff rule that also took effect this year to cut import tariffs for autos built and sold within the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) from 30 percent to zero.
The company has since abandoned that plan, and production of vehicles intended for the Vietnamese market has been suspended since early January.
In a similar move, Mitsubishi Motors has suspended production in Thailand of its Pajero Sports SUV designed for the Vietnamese market, according to Nikkei.