The first models of the new VinFast car brand should go on sale in the Netherlands this year. Automatic week traveled to the country of VinFast: Vietnam.
Unlike many new car brands, which originate in China, VinFast is not part of an existing, larger car manufacturer. The VinFast story begins in 1993, when Vietnamese Pham Nath Vuong, after twenty years of studying and working in Europe, starts selling dehydrated food in Ukraine: noodles.
Things are going well and seven years later, shortly after the beginning of this century, he decides to return to his country, where he says he wants to use his accumulated wealth and his business talents to improve the lives of the Vietnamese.
Women do better at the top
Vietnam is a country with a troubled past. For twenty years it was divided into a communist North and a Western-minded South, resulting in fierce, bloody wars. When the dust settled, Vietnam had reunited as a one-party communist state, which soon after invaded neighboring Cambodia. Although the communist form of government remains to this day, relations with the West are now greatly reduced and prosperity is increasing rapidly.
Vingroup, Pham Nath Vuong’s company, claims much of the credit for that growth. Create a better life for people is Vingroup’s belief, but there is no selfishness behind this: enough for a communist country, Vietnam has the largest private company in the region and Vingroup, its CEO who earns 7.5 billion dollars (more than 7.2 billion euros). good for place 344 on Forbesranking of billionaires worldwide.
BMW 5 Series
The automotive branch is just one of the nine pillars that make up Vingroup. Each division is led by a CEO and they are only women, because Pham Nath Vuong believes that women do better at the top.
The fact that successful Vietnamese people should also have their own car brand, occurred to Pham Nath Vuong a few years ago and – as usual – he put his money where his mouth was. The last Paris auto show featured a large sedan and SUV, based on the previous BMW 5 and X5 lineup. VinFast was honest enough to understand that they had no place in Europe, but wanted to announce the brand’s arrival and presence in Paris.
From now on, all new models are fully electric and that started last December, when the first units of the VF e34 (large crossover, Captur size) went to customers. The VinFast car factory has been operating since June 2019 and was built in just 21 months. If you now look at satellite images on Google Maps, you will only see the first halls that are still under construction.
Support from design studio Pininfarina
In the Netherlands VinFast starts with the VF8 and VF9: two SUVs. VinFast has enlisted the help of original Italian design studio Pininfarina for these SUVs, but that won’t be the rule of the Medes and Persians, says design director David Lyon.
“We get the expertise we need from everywhere,” says Lyon. “In New York we recently launched the VF7, which was designed by Torino Design. Our electric buses are designed by our special studio in Turkey. You don’t have to be an expert in everything, you have to know where to buy expertise. My job is to make sure that the result is VinFast and it has a DNA imprint.”
Ten dealers in the Netherlands and also battery rental
VinFast’s international expansion plans are ambitious to say the least. VinFast is looking at a factory in Germany. A letter of intent was recently signed by the US state of North Carolina for a factory in the US.
For Europe, VinFast is starting its journey in France, Germany and the Netherlands. In our country, VinFast organizes ten dealers, all in-house. For the battery there will be a rental construction as we have seen before in Renault. That wasn’t a success there, but – as they say at VinFast – times have changed. After the VF8 and VF9, it’s time for the VF7, the C-segment model recently presented at the New York Auto Show. The range is then completed down by the VF6 in section B and the VF5 in section A. And then there’s a whole range of brands we’ve never heard of until recently. Or will that work? Time will tell. Soon, if VinFast can keep up this pace. The name is a symbol.
Read more about VinFast’s new car brand in this AutoWeek report.
Unfortunately, this content cannot be displayedWe do not have permission for essential cookies. Accept cookies to view this content.