Ready To Buy A Car From Vietnam? VinFast Is Looking To Make A Splash


Forbes — If Vietnam’s first automaker, Vinfast, is serious about contending in the global auto market, it’s initial car designs don’t indicate that it is very serious about making a splash with design.

The company intends to show two vehicles at next month’s Paris Motor Show, a sedan and crossover. Both vehicles were designed by Italian design house Pininfarina, which worked with VinFast.

The wrinkle in VinFast’s process was that it showed some 20 sketches from four Italian design houses and let the Vietnamese public vote on their favorites. The poll attracted some 62,000 people.

The four-door sedan is a very workmanlike job, and mimics many design points scene in today’s cars from Ford, Hyundai, Opel, Volkswagen, and more–the broken crease in the sheet-metal running from tail-light to headlight, a blacked-out B-pillar, a side scoop that involves both front and back doors. It could literally be any car in the world, as generic a looking sedan as you’ll find anywhere.

There is less design distinction to be found in crossovers in general with few exceptions. The VinFast SUV has a muscular front end, and based on the photo released it might be a bit skimpy in cargo space behind the rear seats.

Other specs key for the Vietnamese home market, as well as other markets that would key to the company’s growth – India, Malaysia, China, Australia–have not been released yet; engine output and displacement, fuel economy and plans for alternative propulsion (i.e. electric or plug-in electric).

“The strong distinguishable design, enhanced by elegant lines and refined details, gives our cars several distinctive highlights,” said David Lyon, VinFast’s design director in a statement. “First and foremost, these emanate around the V logo in the grille which references the country of Vietnam, as well as the Vingroup and VinFast brands. In conjunction with Pininfarina, we have carefully sculptured each body line to express the natural beauty of Vietnam and the warm-hearted and dynamic characteristics of its people through a modern and world-class design language.”

Okay. But these vehicles could be from just about any carmaker in the world. The only thing unique about them is that they come from Vietnam. It will be interesting to see and hear how VinFast thinks it will position the brand and designs relative to more established and reliable competition.