Credit by Vinfast ©vinfast
Meet Southeast Asia's Newest Car Brand

Meet Southeast Asia's Newest Car Brand

VinFast, a Vietnamese carmaker founded only one year ago, made its global debut at the 2018 Paris Motor Show. Vietnam’s first volume car manufacturer and also the country’s first vehicle company to take part in a major international motor show debuted not one, but two automobiles at the French event.

Established in 2017 in Hanoi, Vietnam, VinFast is owned by Pham Nhat Voung under the VinGroup company. It is an abbreviation of a rather long Vietnamese phrase: "Viet Nam (Vietnam) – Phong cách (Stylish) – An toàn (Safety) – Sáng tao (Creativeness) – Tiên phong (Pinoneer)."

Although it’s only one year old as of October 2018, VinFast has already signed partnerships with BMW, General Motors, and Samsung. Its first two vehicles, Lux A2.0 and Lux AS2.0, are built on the underpinnings of the previous generation BMW 5 Series and BMW X5, respectively. The Vietnamese company also signed a deal with General Motors to build a small car under license.

VInfast | vinfast
VInfast | vinfast

CEO James DeLuca spent 37 years with General Motors, while vice president of sales Le Thanh Hai worked for 20 years with the same company. Director of Design David Lyon joined the firm after 28 years with GM, vice president of manufacturing Shaun Calvert is a form GM director in Germany. Finally, vice president of engineering Kevin Fisher has held senior positions at GM, Tata Technologies, and Magna Steyr.

Although built on BMW underpinnings, the two vehicles look nothing like their Bimmer cousins. VinFast developed its own styling language and needless to say, both vehicles look rather unique.

Turbocharged | vinfast
Turbocharged | vinfast

The whole design process is actually a very interesting story. VinFast first commissioned design sketches for a sedan and SUV from four iconic design studios: Italdesign Giugiaro, Pininfarina, Torino Design, and Zagato. In all, VinFast received 20 designs. All of them were posted on the company’s website and Vietnamese enthusiasts were asked to vote on which models they like the most. More than 60,000 people voted and the styling language you see here won.

The Lux A2.0 sedan boasts a rather sleek appearance.

The second pair of lights sits just above the side vents as a back-up for the main units integrated into the same design as the grille trim. The bulge on the center of the engine hood adds even more muscle to the design. Strangely, the grilles on the side and lower vents are closed up. This design isn’t exactly functional as far as aerodynamics and cooling go, so hopefully, we’re looking at a prototype.

Premium appearance | vinfast
Premium appearance | vinfast

Moving over to the Lux SA2.0, it boasts a similar appearance up front. The grille has the same V-shaped chrome ornaments and LED headlamps integrated into the design. However, the lights are a bit thicker than the sedans. Also, the second pair of lights is mounted lower in the fascia, while the area between the main grille and the lower vent is finished in black for a more rugged look. The SA2.0 has the same issue with the grilles and should look way better when the production car is ready and fully functional. Needless to say, the SUV looks unique as well and could compete against everything else available on the European market, including some premium haulers.

VinFast aims to sell the Lux models on the premium market and claims the vehicles boast quality materials inside the cabin. The Vietnamese firm also says that the "focus is on providing uncluttered simplicity and creating a relaxing ambiance." This is hard to verify though with the vehicles not fully ready for production as of this writing.

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