First made-in-Vietnam cars rolled out in record time

By Minh Hy   October 2, 2018 | 01:32 am PT
Vietnam’s first car maker VinFast Tuesday impressed industry insiders by rolling out its very first products in record time.

An SUV and a small sedan were revealed at the Paris Motor Show, making it the first time ever that made-in-Vietnam cars stood alongside with global giants at one of the biggest car exhibitions in the world.

VinFast, a unit of Vietnam’s largest conglomerate, Vingroup JSC, surprised industry insiders by completing its first two units within one year.

Its first two models are built on frames from BMW. Their components have been engineered by Canadian firm Magna International’s Magna Steyr, while design work was done by Italian design house Pininfarina.

VinFasts Sedan. Photo acquired by VnExpress.

VinFast's Sedan. Photo acquired by VnExpress.

VinFast is expected to have the capacity to produce 250,000 cars annually in the next five years or so, equivalent to 92 percent of all the cars sold in Vietnam last year, according to data collated by the Vietnam Automobile Manufacturers’ Association (VAMA), Reuters said Monday.

Vingroup says it only set out on creating VinFast a little over a year ago, earmarking about $3.5 billion for the project.

“We are driving rapid expansion of the domestic automobile market, so we are absolutely focused on winning here first,” Reuters quoted CEO Jim Deluca as saying ahead of the Paris Motor Show.

“We’re looking to expand both within ASEAN and outside.”

Most cars sold in Vietnam are foreign brands assembled in the country from kits. But a series of free trade agreements have reduced import duties and are opening up the market. A 30 percent import tax on cars from other Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) countries was scrapped this year.

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