Stating anything you want on the internet has its limits.
The luxury brand who thinks its upcoming EV SUV will be better than a Tesla Model Y is launching a legal battle in its home country of Vietnam. VinFast has reported to the Vietnamese police that one of its customers is making false claims about the quality of his car on his YouTube channel where he's amassed 455,000 followers.
Tran Van Hoang is the Vietnamese YouTuber accused by the automaker of uploading "untrue content" which "affected the reputation of VinFast." Van Hoang is the owner of a VinFast Lux A2.0 (pictured here), a luxury sedan launched last year alongside the SA2.0 SUV, and he's clearly taking the automaker's case against him seriously.
He proactively removed the clips VinFast has a problem with after receiving notice from the company. However, VinFast saved all of the evidence before it was removed and has turned everything over to the police. Van Hoang has already been summoned by the authorities for questioning. The report didn't provide specific details about what exactly Van Hoang's complaints were regarding the vehicle.
He did say, however, that he's a proud VinFast owner and highlighted what he thought were some of the vehicle's shortcomings, but only reluctantly. Whatever he said was enough to unleash the carmaker's anger. But don't think for a moment this is something that could only happen in a Communist country like Vietnam.
VinFast has made it very clear it'd take the same approach to any YouTuber or social media influencer elsewhere. "If a similar incident were to occur when operating in the United States, we will also submit a request to the authorities in accordance with local law, and to protect our legal rights."
Does free speech have its limits? Perhaps, but legitimate criticism of any consumer product is fair game in America and many other countries. Unfortunately, since we don't know what exactly Van Hoang said about his car it's not possible to make an honest judgment whether VinFast's legal actions are justified. However, criticism is part of this business and VinFast needs to accept that.