Born in Vietnam: Vinfast presents first cars in Paris
Vietnam's first volume car manufacturer, VinFast, has debuted two vehicles at the Paris Motor Show. The global debut for the brand includes an all-new sedan and a new crossover inspired by the Vietnamese people. The company plans to go global with automotive exports.
VinFast is headed by board chair Le Thi Thu Thuy and CEO James DeLuca, formerly of General Motors. Le Thanh Hai, formerly of General Motors Vietnam, will head up marketing for VinFast. The company itself is part of Vingroup, the largest privately-held business in Vietnam, which has hands in many real estate, construction, and other sectors.
The LUX vehicles introduced in Paris are based on a new architecture developed by VinFast. The designs were undertaken with engineering partners and are geared towards fast development-to-market goals. Partners include Magna Steyr and Bosch.
"Our partnership strategy will enable us to achieve two crucial engineering imperatives – quality and timing," said Kevin Fisher, Vice President of Engineering at VinFast. The strategy, he said, has resulted in shortened timeframes while meeting international standards for safety and reliability. Manufacture of the cars will take place in Vietnam at a facility the company has already opened for operations. Prototype testing of the two vehicles being presented at the Paris Motor Show is currently underway in Vietnam.
Both vehicles will be powered by a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine. That engine's development was sourced at AVL and developed in conjunction with Bosch. Two power outputs for the engine are available, starting with 174 horsepower (130 kW) and then 228 horsepower (170 kW). The eight-speed automatic transmission those engines mate to is sourced from ZF with a Borg Warner transfer case on all-wheel drive units.
Interiors for the two vehicles are very similar, with inspiration from the Vietnamese lifestyle as their source. Both vehicles' designs also included public input from the Vietnamese people in an open voting process.
The LUX A2.0 sedan is a mixture of curved and concave surfaces for the upmarket car segment. A long hooded, cab-rearward, fastback-style design marks the A2.0's overall motif. VinFast says the sedan will be available with either engine choice and has a best 0-100 km/h (62 mph) sprint of 8.9 seconds in the lower output engine and 7.1 seconds with the higher.
The sedan is rear-wheel drive, measures 4,973 mm high by 1,900 mm wide by 1,464 mm tall (196 x 75 x 58 inches). Its wheelbase is 2,968 mm (117 inches).
The LUX SA2.0 SUV has a contemporary, European look about it with good ground clearance and a strong stance. It will be powered by the 228 hp engine with either rear-wheel or all-wheel drive as options, and should do the 0-100 km/h sprint in under 9 seconds.
The SUV measures 4,940 mm long, 1,960 mm wide, and 1,773 mm tall (194 x 77 x 70 inches). Its wheelbase is 2,933 mm (115 inches).
Beyond these vehicles, VinFast plans to move forward with a city car through partnership with General Motors, and to expand its already burgeoning eScooter line with a fully electric small car next year. The partnership with GM also extends to automotive sales, where GM has given VinFast exclusive distribution rights for Chevrolet-branded vehicles in Vietnam. Other technology agreements are also underway between VinFast and GM. Most GM operations will be transferring to VinFast, including the company's large Hanoi plant, before the end of 2018.
VinFast is also cooperating with Siemens to develop an electric bus for Vietnam. This will become part of VinFast's supply chain for electric mobility in its operations. VinFast will begin sales of the A2.0 and SA2.0 in June 2019.