Not bad for a country's first effort. Not bad, at all.
We'll give you a minute to think of a few cars that come from Vietnam - can't think of any? That's because it's never made any. Until now. Having shown off the cars online, VinFast has jut revealed Vietnam's first-ever sedan and SUV at the 2018 Paris Motor Show. Now that they've debuted on the world stage, we have some more details to share about them.
For starter, we didn't know what VinFast was set to call these new models, but we now have an official name for each of them. The sedan is called the LUX A2.0 and the SUV is called the LUX SA2.0 - yeah, not exactly as catchy as Stinger, or Mustang. Boring names aside, these look like an amazing first effort from a country that has never had a global, mass-produced car.
VinFast wanted to make sure it nailed the styling, so it commissioned design sketches for a sedan and an SUV from the world's best car design studios in the world – Italdesign Giugiaro, Pininfarina, Torino Design, and Zagato. It then had over 60,000 people in Vietnam vote on the winner and Italian design house, Italdesign Giugiaro, won. We think the Vietnamese voters made the right decision because both cars look fabulous.
On the inside, VinFast is quick to point out that these are meant to be premium products that "express the Vietnamese personality and broader cultural traits." The interior was designed so that "drivers feel they can get away from everything" and VinFast has embraced the philosophy that "the drive to work and journey home should be the best part of the day."
The interior looks very Volvo-esque, with a large, 10.4-inch touchscreen as the centerpiece. VinFast says more than 80% of Vietnamese people use smartphones (more than in the US), so it wanted the interior to reflect that with a tech-savvy design. The touchscreen functions like a smartphone and drivers can even upload their own wallpapers to it.
Both models are powered by a BMW-sourced 2.0-liter four-cylinder turbocharged engine mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission. Buyers will be able to choose from 173 and 227 horsepower variants, with 0-62 mph times of 8.9 seconds and 7.1 seconds respectively. Rear-wheel-drive is standard on both models, but all-wheel-drive is available on the LUX SA2.0 SUV.
We initially reported that the cars would be underpinned by older BMW platforms, but VinFast says engineering specialist Magna Steyr is developing a new platform for each model. It sounds like the platform is still in its development phase and testing is currently taking place with nearly 300 prototype cars in Vietnam and Europe.
Deliveries of the LUX A2.0 and LUX SA2.0 are set to begin in June 2019. VinFast will follow up these models with more vehicles including a city car, an electric car, and an electric bus. The company's new $3.5 billion production facility can produce 250,000 cars per year, but production is expected to reach 900,000 units by 2025. VinFast plans to export these cars to other markets by 2020, but we doubt the U.S. will be one of those markets, at least not in the immediate future.