Vietnam Launches Its First Domestic Car
Vietnam’s Vingroup conglomerate has begun production of the country’s first domestically produced auto brand, VinFast.
The $3.5 billion initiative and assembly plant in Haiphong hopes to reach annual production of 250,000 cars in the next few years, just 30,000 units short of the country’s entire new-car market last year, The Nikkei reports. The plant has been under construction for two years.
Vingroup has no previous carmaking experience. VinFast hired Jim DeLuca, former head of global manufacturing for General Motors Co., to lead the company after he left GM in 2016. The project has received technical support from AVL, Bosch, Magna and Siemens.
Deliveries of the first VinFast model, the midsize Fadil luxury sedan (pictured), are to begin next week. The car will be base-priced at about 450 million dong ($19,400), according to The Nikkei.
An SUV/crossover model is expected to follow. Both models reportedly ride on BMW AG’s previous-generation 5 Series platform. They are powered by a variant of the German carmaker’s 3.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine and a ZF 8-speed automatic transmission.
Vingroup says it aims to introduce 12 models of cars and electric motorbikes between now and the end of 2020. Earlier reports say the company is developing a minicar based on the Opel Viva, and is collaborating with Siemens on an electric bus.
The company’s goal is to reach annual output of 500,000 vehicles by 2025, some of which will be exported.