When people think about things that are made in Vietnam, cars probably don't even rank as an afterthought, but a Vietnamese consortium known as Vingroup (aka the largest private enterprise in the country) is trying to change that.
VinFast will be Vietnam's first high-volume producer of cars, and while we have no idea what kind of vehicles the company will be making, apparently we can expect to find out at the Paris Auto Show later, in October this year.
The move to build cars in Vietnam is a big one, culturally, as the country is mostly known as a haven for motorcycles and scooters due to their low cost of ownership and Vietnam's crowded streets.
A shift to cars, if they're meant to be sold domestically, could radically alter the way the country gets around.
VinFast already has a good start on things, having broken ground on its factory in Hai Phong in September of 2017.
While facts are thin on the ground here, the press release from VinFast's new PR agency PFPR states that:
"VinFast products will share a number of characteristics and values: Vietnam, Style, Safety, Innovation, and Pioneering. Its cars will meet international standards and customer expectations in terms of premium design, quality, dynamics, in-car features and ownership experience."
Precisely what that means is kind of nebulous, but the international standards bit is interesting.
Herewith, Seasia gathered a summarised facts about Vinfast and its latest related news, as reported by news online globally:
1. Vinfast is is a subsidiary of Vingroup, the largest private company in Vietnam.
2. VinFast is targeting production of 500,000 vehicles by 2025 after an initial output of between 100,000 and 200,000.
3. Italdesign has won a commission to design two minicars, one full-electric and one with an internal combustion engine, for Vinfast.
4. Italdesign previously won the right to style an SUV and sedan, which will be developed by Pininfarina, according to the Italian firm.
5. It is also reported that Canadian supplier Magna International will provide complete vehicle engineering for the SUV and sedan.
6. The automaker's plant, in the northern port city of Haiphong, will eventually also build motorbikes, Vinfast said.
7. In September last year, Vinfast had begun construction of the factory as part of a project worth $1 billion to $1.5 billion in the first phase. The company said then it planned to buy blueprints of car engines and main mechanical systems from top European and U.S. designers.
Will VinFast be able to carve a space for itself outside its home country with vehicle exports from China rapidly expanding?
We'll have to wait till October to find out.