Being Vietnam’s first automaker, VinFast has no track record and not a single series car produced yet. But if the two very convincing models it showed at the Paris motor show are any indication, the fledgling automaker has high ambitions and its sights set on the premium segment.

One of the two vehicles it unveiled in Paris is the SA2.0 SUV, a high-riding model almost the same size as a BMW X5, with sleek styling and a rather luxurious appearance. It has been said that the model makes use of a BMW-derived platform and, from the side, it really does look a bit like the aforementioned X5 (the previous generation), especially in the lower part of the body.

VinFast wants its vehicles to evoke the beauty of the land where they were made, which is why it employed Italdesign Giugiaro to come up with the design and then had Pininfarina further refine it before going public. The resulting design is actually quite successful, even if it looks a bit too Mazda Kodo-esque from some angles - definitely not a bad look.

It comes with one turbocharged engine choice, standard rear- but optional all-wheel drive and a modern seven-seater interior complete with massive portrait-style infotainment screen and hints of BMW.

Exterior

2019 VinFast SA2.0
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The SA2.0 SUV is almost exactly the same size as a BMW X5 and measures 4.94 meters (195.7 inches) in length, 1.9 meteres (74.8 inches) in width, standing 1.46 meters (57.6 inches) tall.

And certain parts of it do look a lot like the previous generation X5, most notably the shape of the wheel arches.

The mirrors also appear as if they were lifted straight from a BMW too.

Aside from this possible platform sharing-derived similarity, there is nothing else BMW-esque about its design. The front fascia has a three-tier lighting setup, with daytime running lights on top which continue with light bars that curve downward to emphasize the badge. Then there is another set of lights integrated into the black plastic part of the bumper and then another couple of slim lights on the lower leading edge of the bumper.

From the side, it does kind of look like the X5 in the greenhouse area too, although it does have a different shape C-pillar to set it apart. The rear uses plenty of LEDs too, with a bar running inward from each cluster, then curving down to follow the shape of the “V” badge set against a black background.

It really looks nothing like a BMW from the back, but we can spot it has real exhaust pipes, just like on any X5.

2019 VinFast SA2.0
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Essentially, there are hints of X5 from several angles, but it is also different and daring enough to stand out on its own.

The red painted motor show prototype looked really good on its 19- or 20-inch wheels and its face is probably more attractive than that of the old X5.

Interior

2019 VinFast SA2.0
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Inside it doesn’t look like there’s any BMW, apart from the steering wheel and the stalks for indicators and wipers. The gauges don’t look like they’re based on BMW designs and the basic architecture of the interior just looks different.

Just like the LUX A2.0 sedan, its interior is dominated by a large 10.4-inch portrait-style infotainment screen with few other buttons on the center console.

The screen located in between the two analog dials measures 7 inches, and it will probably display relevant data about the vehicle, as well as possibly a full map for navigation like on an Audi virtual cockpit.

The infotainment is simple to use and is inspired by the way smartphones operating systems work, instead of trying to mimic other infotainment solutions from other manufacturers. It will feature three color themes all based on Vietnamese culture and natural beauty - it will come with standard wallpapers showing significant sights from the country, but users will be able to upload and use their own.

2019 VinFast SA2.0
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The material choice inside we are assured is of high quality - wood trim will use actual wood, while a coated plastic won’t be used to mimic aluminum and other materials. The manufacturer ensures material color and texture consistency by having a single supplier for all trim pieces.

Drivetrain

2019 VinFast SA2.0
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The LUX SA2.0 will only be available with one engine choice, a 2.0-liter turbo possibly sourced from BMW. It makes 231 metric horsepower and 350 Nm (258 pound-feet) of torque and allows the vehicle to sprint to 100 km/h / 62 mph in 8.9 seconds for the rear-wheel-drive version or 9.1 seconds for models with the optional all-wheel-drive system.

Pricing

2019 VinFast SA2.0
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No word on pricing for the LUX SA2.0, but since it is the size of a BMW X5 with some lower grade materials inside and only a 2.0-liter engine, it may probably even undercut the smaller X3 from BMW.

Competition

Mercedes GLE

2020 Mercedes-Benz GLE Exterior
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Mercedes has just rolled out its all-new GLE SUV with which it aims to occupy the top position in its class. But lower tier models in the GLE range will get four-cylinder engines, and a fully-equipped VinFast may be considerably cheaper than a basic GLE.

If VinFast wants to expand the sale of its SUV outside of Vietnam where many may just buy it out of sheer patriotism, it needs to be priced lower than established models like the new GLE. It essentially has to be a good deal first and foremost.

Read our full review on the 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLE.

VW Tiguan Allspace

2018 Volkswagen Tiguan Allspace High Resolution Exterior
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The SA2.0 will not only face premium-badged rivals, but others like the VW Tiguan Allspace which were it not for its mainstream badge could be thought of as quite luxurious. It has a great cabin filled with high-quality materials and better fit and finish than some actual luxury cars.

It also has the Vietnamese SUV beaten for choice of engines, dealer network, and brand awareness, although it looks nowhere near as dramatic and it’s only a front-wheel drive-biased high-rider.

Read our full review on the 2018 Volkswagen Tiguan Allspace.

Conclusion

2019 VinFast SA2.0
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VinFast SA2.0, which will probably be called something else by the time it reaches a showroom, is a credible attempt at a premium SUV, especially from a company with zero experience in the field of building cars. The BMW connection could certainly help it become popular quicker than if it simply were an SUV drawn up from the ground up by a company with no experience.

The vehicle does look sufficiently different to an X5, and it has its own style which visually links it to the A2.0 sedan revealed alongside it at the Paris motor show. It has bold front and rear fascias, a great front three-quarter view, as well as a pretty decent looking interior with seating for up to seven and a competitive 2.0-liter turbocharged engine powering it (which is possibly a BMW unit).

If they don’t go overboard with the price and manage to market and promote it well, it could become popular outside Vietnam. But we have to wait until next year in June when deliveries are set to commence before passing final judgment.

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Further Reading

2019 .VinFast A2.0
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Read our full review on the 2019 VinFast A2.0.

2019 BMW X5
- image 782576

Read our full review on the 2019 BMW X5.

Contents

Harnessing the Vietnamese spirit, and taking it to the world
World-class Italian design flair, influenced by the Vietnamese people
Creating world-class products
All-new, state-of-the-art production complex
Pioneering Vietnam’s automotive industry beyond the LUX models
Delivering a better life for the people of Vietnam
Technical specifications
1. Harnessing the Vietnamese spirit, and taking it to the world

Vietnam’s first volume car manufacturer debuts at Paris Motor Show with two world premieres
VinFast embodies the pride, spirit and tenacity of the Vietnamese people
World-class design captures Vietnam’s natural beauty
New manufacturing facility is one of Vietnam’s biggest industrial projects ever
Production of new LUX A2.0 sedan and LUX SA2.0 SUV will commence in the middle of 2019
VinFast is the first volume automotive manufacturer from Vietnam, and the first ever to participate in a major international motor show. Harnessing Vietnamese spirit, VinFast is developing and manufacturing – in Vietnam – its own range of innovative, world-class vehicles, which will be sold worldwide. It is making its global public debut at the 2018 Mondial Paris Motor Show, with two world premieres – the LUX A2.0 sedan and the LUX SA2.0 SUV. These premium models epitomise the company’s philosophy of ‘Vietnamese – Style – Safety – Creativity – Pioneering’.

The design direction of these first two cars was influenced by the Vietnamese people through a public vote. This has enhanced the sense of national pride in these products, which pay homage to the country’s natural beauty. The design development for the production cars was undertaken by legendary design house, Pininfarina, giving the cars Italian design flair and sophistication.

VinFast is a proud Vietnamese business with a truly global outlook and ambition, and is working with leading design, engineering and supplier partners to ensure its cars exhibit strong Vietnamese character married with Italian design sophistication and European advanced technologies and quality. VinFast products will meet international standards and customer expectations in terms of premium design, dynamics, in-car features and ownership experience.

The business has engaged specialist external expertise and recruited senior executives from some of the industry’s leading automotive companies to ensure it can build a highly successful automotive business from scratch within a remarkably short timescale.

The VinFast business is led by senior executives including Chairwoman, Le Thi Thu Thuy, who is also the Vice Chairwoman of Vingroup and has over 22 years of experience in the financial services and real estate industry. She is joined by James DeLuca, CEO of VinFast Trading and Production, who is an experienced automotive leader. He spent 37 years with General Motors, where he was responsible for 171 production facilities in 31 countries.

The Vice President of Sales is Ms. Lê Thanh Hải, who has nearly 20 years of experience in the automotive industry and was formerly General Sales and Marketing Director at General Motors Vietnam. David Lyon is VinFast’s Director of Design. He has 28 years of automotive design experience in various roles at General Motors, culminating with a role as Executive Director of Asia-Pacific Design.

Shaun Calvert, former General Motors Director of Manufacturing Systems and Support in Germany, is VinFast’s Vice President of Manufacturing. Kevin Fisher, Vice President of Engineering at VinFast, has previously held senior technical and innovation roles at General Motors, Tata Technologies and Magna Steyr. Roy Flecknell, Vice President of Planning & Program Management, has over 40 years’ experience in with GM in the UK, Germany, Russia and Asia.

VinFast is an exceptional example of the pride, spirit and tenacity of the Vietnamese people. Many countries in South East Asia have prioritised a domestic car industry as a source of great pride, and it has led their elevation to a position of respect for their technical and industrial capabilities on the global stage. VinFast is now pioneering the rapid development of Vietnam’s automotive industry.

Until now, Vietnam has not had its own car brand for its people: the industry is made up of imports and local assembly with a low localisation rate; as a result, supporting industries are underdeveloped. VinFast will foster the creation of a new local supply chain and give the Vietnamese people a domestic car brand of which they can be proud.

All VinFast cars will be manufactured at an all-new, purpose-built, state-of-the-art 335-hectare plant in Hai Phong, northern Vietnam. It is one of Vietnam’s biggest industrial projects ever, delivering a facility that is among the most advanced automotive production complexes in the world.

Deliveries of the LUX A2.0 and LUX SA2.0 will commence in Vietnam from June 2019. These will be followed by further vehicles, including a city car, a battery electric car, and an electric bus – all of which are already in development. Shipments to export markets are planned to begin in 2020, less than a year after domestic sales.

As a subsidiary of Vingroup, Vietnam’s largest privately-held business, VinFast has the resources and scalability to fulfil its ambition to become South East Asia’s leading vehicle manufacturer, and a significant new player in the global automotive industry. Vingroup’s brands were founded with a mission to strive ‘for a better life for the Vietnamese people’, and Vingroup wanted to build a proud car brand for the country that was stylish, premium and embodied the Vietnamese spirit, that would appeal beyond its domestic market, to the world. Its vision was to create cars with a strong Vietnamese identity that would represent the country – and be competitive – on the global automotive stage.

Vingroup had annual revenues in 2017 of 3.9 billion USD. The group, which celebrates its 25th anniversary this year, is a leader in the Vietnamese construction and real estate sectors, and also has major interests in the country’s education, healthcare, agriculture, tourism and consumer retail sectors.

Vietnam’s economy is growing rapidly. Annual GDP per capita has accelerated in recent years to over 6.8% and is forecast to continue at 6.5% p.a. in the coming years. This positive economic outlook creates significantly higher potential for growth in passenger car ownership. Currently, it stands at around 23 cars per 1,000 inhabitants, but estimates suggest that ownership in Vietnam will soon rise to 50 cars per 1,000 inhabitants. For comparison, in Thailand and the US, these numbers stand at 204 per 1,000 and 790 per 1,000, respectively. The current car sales volume in Vietnam is 300,000 units per annum. That is forecast to triple to 900,000 units by 2025.

In parallel with the boom in car sales, Vietnam is also investing in significant roadbuilding programmes. Major development works are currently underway, many due for completion by 2020, by which time 21 highways are expected to have been built with a total length of nearly 6,500 km.

2. World-class Italian design flair, influenced by the Vietnamese people

Debut models feature perfectly balanced proportions with a contemporary, timeless design language that exhibits Italian design flair and sophistication
Design direction was heavily influenced by Vietnamese people through innovative vote
Distinctive front grille incorporates asymmetric ‘VF’ motif
LUX A2.0 and LUX SA2.0 represent the powerful, progressive spirit of a new, energetic and developing Vietnam
The proud and energetic styling of VinFast’s first two models were heavily influenced by the new company’s progressive approach to design, and display a world-class design language developed in close partnership with the world-renowned Pininfarina design team in Italy.

In order to find a style that reflected the desires of the Vietnamese driver, VinFast did something no car brand has ever done before. First, it commissioned design sketches for a sedan and a SUV from four of the world’s best car design studios – Italdesign Giugiaro, Pininfarina, Torino Design and Zagato. Then in October 2017, it put all 20 designs on its website and asked Vietnamese consumers to vote on which models they liked the most.

These Vietnamese consumers were excited to help determine the look of the first cars made expressly for them. With over 60,000 people voting for their favorite designs, the decision was clear; they chose designs for an SUV and a sedan both penned by celebrated Italian design house Italdesign Giugiaro.

Since then, VinFast has worked hard with Pininfarina to further develop the cars and deliver the winning designs – designs which are distinctively Vietnamese in character and style and exciting for an international audience, too.

One specific highlight of the debutant’s design language is prominent at the front of both its new cars. The chrome ‘V’ emblem at the centre of the grille is confident and distinctive. To the right is a horizontal chrome element that combines with the LED daytime running lights to create an italicised F-motif, representing the second syllable of VinFast, and a unique asymmetric flourish. From the central ‘V’ emblem radiates the bold crease lines that run over the bonnet.

“The strong brand identity, enhanced by elegant lines and refined details, gives our cars several distinctive highlights,” explains David Lyon, Director of Design at VinFast. “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.”

From a starting point of exceptional proportions, designers from VinFast and Pininfarina created timeless cars that each feature a long wheelbase and elegant, inspiring styling.

Contemporary and timeless, the designs are beautifully balanced, with a sleek profile created by a long bonnet and cab-rearward stance. They exhibit an emotional dynamism through taught and lean surfacing created by carefully sculpted convex and concave forms. Exuding a sense of technological advancement, complex lighting is in layers at the front and in distinctive block-form combination modules at the rear, each incorporating bold LEDs for a very modern style.

LUX A2.0 Sedan

Thesleek sedan has a powerful, dynamic stance and a mixture of curved and concave surfaces that create a sense of elegance and desirable prestige.

It is defined by exceptionally balanced and harmonious proportions. The long bonnet visually extends the front of the car, with the sleek minimalistic headlights drawing the eye to the corners, while the roofline stretches rearward to create a cab rearward, sleek elegance. The C-pillar is elongated to visually continue the roofline rearwards, with the rear glass raked at a fast angle.

The chrome elements and sleek, modern design give the car a prestigious appeal that enrich the sense of premium. A lower chrome line runs along the length of the body side through to the rear to accentuate the lean proportions. Higher up the bodyside is a sharp, flowing line that enhances the impression of elegance and creates a sense of forward momentum.

The aerofoil splitter at the lower edge of the front bumper improves aerodynamic performance – optimised through wind tunnel testing – as air is forced into the intake and expelled ahead of the wheel arches to reduce drag-inducing turbulence around the wheels.

LUX SA2.0 SUV

The SUV is muscular and robust in appearance, with design elements adding to the strong SUV impression, yet still retaining a lithe, sporty look.

At the front, the LUX SA2.0’s imposing bumper guard was developed to be very sculptural and to incorporate cleanly the headlight layout, air intakes and fog lights. The lighting elements create a strong SUV style, vertically stacked from the low-positioned fog lights up to the headlights half-way up, capped by the daytime running lights that flow out from the VinFast logo.

As with the LUX A2.0 sedan, the bold front-end design ensures the ‘V’ and ‘F’ of the VinFast brand is a key focal point. Contrasting surfaces and materials subtly enhance the clean, flowing lines, and the sheet metal is juxtaposed with black elements in the front grille to lighten the front end and enhance the sporty character of the SUV. Visual drama in the front is further enhanced by chrome brightwork and highly sculptured gloss black elements that together project a sense of luxury. Meanwhile, the headlights, fog lights and air intakes are presented in a contrasting matte black surround, to heighten the sense of solidity and structure.

The new SUV’s aesthetic appeal is strengthened with sculptural, flowing lines that create a sense of forward-leaning aspect, giving the car a sense of dynamic power. This is a seven passenger, three-row SUV that still feels very compact and sporty.

The deep body side and shallow glasshouse are carefully proportioned to visually lower the profile and increase the dynamic appearance. The single chrome line across the bottom of the glasshouse sweeps up the C-pillar, accentuating the dynamic lines. Further chrome brightwork around the windows adds to the sense of luxury and creates visual drama, while the striking ‘floating’ roof at the D-pillar adds even more athleticism to the side profile.

Calm, rewarding interior

The inspiration for VinFast’s interiors was Vietnam itself. The design team understood that finding a way to express the Vietnamese personality and broader cultural traits was vital, so they could build a car that would emotionally fulfil the desires and aspirations of Vietnam’s motorists.

Clean lines and quality materials make the interior of VinFast models a tranquil and rewarding place to be and reflective of a Vietnamese aesthetic. The exterior of the LUX A2.0 sedan and LUX SA2.0 SUV define the character of the cars, and VinFast’s design team have echoed that character in the interior spaces of each model.

The focus is on providing uncluttered simplicity and creating a relaxing ambience. VinFast wants this to be a place that drivers feel they can get away from everything: the drive to work and journey home should be the best part of the day.

The lines are very clean and simple, and the control surfaces feature very few buttons. For VinFast, creating a clean, cutting-edge user interface was essential. Technology is vital – Vietnam is a smartphone country: more than 80 per cent of the population use smartphones, a higher proportion of the population than in other countries including the USA. And the large 10.4-inch touchscreen dominating the centre console presents a very familiar and welcoming interface for a tech-savvy population. The large configurable touchscreen is the control hub of the car and features simple, intuitive navigation and menus.

The design team tasked themselves with creating a fresh new look for the interface without compromising its usability. The goal was to simplify features whenever possible and to make the mood and the feeling of the interface as distinctly Vietnamese as possible.

VinFast has created a system to incorporate a more human element for VinFast cars. It uses fewer buttons, prioritizing the hierarchy of functions logically and uses a simple color palette that is easy to read.

The result is a UX design that is both simple and elegant. The homepage, for example, has just three icons for top level access, plus a display showing the climate control status in the car. This home menu is contextual with just three large buttons for phone connectivity navigation and audio. The sub-level menus below this — including for the phone and the audio and even the navigation system — owe far more to contemporary smartphone design in terms of both aesthetic and function than perhaps anything yet seen in automotive UX de-sign. Users even swipe down for shortcuts in the same way that you would using an An-droid or Apple phone.

As a principal point of interaction between occupant and car, the touchscreen has a color palette to reflect the dramatic use of color in the Vietnamese culture and nature. There are three different themes each based on an iconic Vietnamese landscape, offering the driver a choice of mood and color. Customers can upload their own photos and choose from Vietnam-themed wallpapers for use as a background to the interface, landscapes familiar to Vietnamese customers, including terraced rice fields and Hạ Long Bay.

This element of personalization is part of an overall aesthetic designed to connect emotion-ally with local consumers.

In addition to the centre console touchscreen, a prominent seven-inch colour driver information display is set in the centre of the instrument binnacle, flanked by an analogue dial on each side. The layered form of the instrument panel – as with other elements of the interior styling lines – was inspired by the Vietnamese countryside.

The subtle presence of technology in the cabin is further complemented by ambient lighting strips integrated into the horizontal interior trim lines across the dash and doors.

Designers spent significant time getting the proportions right, with optimised ergonomics and clear lines of sight dictating much of the interior layout.

Quality is a primary focus for VinFast throughout the car, and this is especially evident in the selection of materials and the hand-crafted finish. Everything the occupants touch and feel in the car is authentic – if it looks like aluminium it is aluminium; if it looks like wood it is wood. To maintain quality and consistency of material grades and grains, a single supplier – Faurecia – has been appointed to supply all interior parts. Its commitment to achieving the required level of quality and finish is evident in the fact that most surfaces are hand-wrapped and custom-stitched.

3. Creating world-class products

VinFast partners with world-leading automotive engineering experts
New platforms and engines include licensed patents and know-how
Cars use an ultra-rigid chassis-body structure, new electrical architecture and are future-proofed for forthcoming safety regulations and connectivity features
New 2.0-litre turbocharged gasoline engine is highly efficient and powerful
Driveability, ride and handling honed to Vietnamese preferences
VinFast is working with world-leading design, engineering and component businesses to create the first mainstream volume cars to be developed and built in Vietnam.

Kevin Fisher, Vice President of Engineering at VinFast, said: “Our partnership strategy will enable us to achieve two crucial engineering imperatives – quality and timing. We will meet the world-class engineering and quality benchmarks we set for ourselves to ensure we deliver cars with international standards in safety, reliability, refinement and styling. And we will do so having dramatically shortened the timeframe – to less than two years – to bring our first cars to market.”

The company is pioneering a homegrown car manufacturing industry, with a clear aim to build sophisticated vehicles to internationally-recognised standards of quality, durability, driving dynamics and in-car features.

VinFast and its vehicle engineering partners are developing two world-class cars half the usual period taken to develop a new car. To ensure the ambitious programme timing could be achieved without compromising quality, VinFast chose the leading experts in their fields.

Over 400 engineers from leading vehicle engineering specialist, Magna Steyr, are developing a new platform for each of VinFast’s inaugural models. The Austrian consultancy is responsible for integrating newly-developed vehicle systems, latest-generation ECU technologies from Bosch, and a new cutting-edge electrical architecture. This extensive new platform engineering programme incorporates patents and know-how licenced from a premium European OEM.

The new platforms incorporate extensive use of mixed materials including the latest generation of hot-stamped ultra-high strength steels. Testing is being undertaken using nearly 300 prototype development cars in Vietnam and in Europe.

Underpinning both cars will be an ultra-rigid, unitary chassis-body structure. Each structure has been honed to have high natural frequencies, which provide resistance to vibrations and which have been engineered to manage torsion and bending forces to deliver greater control over vehicle dynamics.

The suspension on both the new VinFast LUX A2.0 and LUX SA2.0 is independent all round, comprising a double-wishbone front axle with double-pivot lower arms and coil springs, and at the rear a five-joint multi-link axle and a tubular anti-roll bar.

The chassis architecture is the most significant element of VinFast’s efforts to match European levels of driving quality and refinement, with a keen focus on world-class dynamics and ride compliance. It also provides excellent crash protection, thanks to a strong and rigid passenger cell, and crumple zones at the front and rear. Dual front, side and curtain airbags on all models complement this high level of passive safety, while Active Rollover Mitigation technology is also included.

For development of the turbocharged 2.0-litre inline four-cylinder gasoline engine that will power both the LUX A2.0 and LUX SA2.0, VinFast partnered with the Austrian-headquartered AVL. The engine – again, benefitting from licensed patents and know-how – uses a twin-scroll turbocharger, and a newly applied valvetrain. The variable valve-timing system reduces pumping losses to a level that matches that of premium-marque engines.

Control mechanisms for the powertrain – which will also feature stop-start technology and a specifically-developed variable valvetrain system – have been developed with Bosch and AVL.

VinFast will offer the petrol engine with two power outputs – 130 kW (176 PS) and 170 kW (231 PS). Buyers of the LUX A2.0 sedan will have a choice of outputs, while the LUX SA2.0 SUV will be available only with the higher power output. In each case, the engine will be paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission from specialist ZF, featuring a modified bell housing and crank case. The LUX SA2.0 is also equipped with a torque transfer case from Borg Warner to provide optional four-wheel drive capability as an upgrade over the standard rear-drive set-up.

The cars will offer impressive performance. The LUX A2.0 targets acceleration from 0-100 km/h in 8.9 seconds with the 130 kW engine, and in 7.1 seconds for the 170 kW power unit. The LUX SA2.0 SUV with rear-wheel-drive will aim to achieve 0-100 km/h in 8.9 seconds, and just 0.2 seconds slower with all-wheel-drive.

The driveability of the new VinFast sedan and SUV has been honed with technology called AVL-DRIVE. This assesses characteristics of a car’s driving experience and can record data to produce a model for the optimum setup, based on feedback from a series of dynamic on-road driving tests. VinFast was able to use AVL-DRIVE to analyse what levels of launch and in-gear responsiveness a large panel of Vietnamese drivers preferred, and then use the results to develop specific characteristics for the production models.

VinFast and AVL’s assessment programme found that the desires of Vietnamese drivers appear to closely match those of European markets, though with an even firmer preference for a powerful and smooth torque response from the car, without needing to downshift. A similar ’customer clinic’ programme was undertaken in conjunction with Magna Steyr to help calibrate data points for the ride and handling set-up.

Environmental considerations had a significant influence over the vehicle engineering programme. VinFast will be pioneering sophisticated emissions controls in its home market, employing a three-way catalyst with closed-loop fuel control. This emissions control system is common in European markets but represents a significant step up from the standards currently in Vietnam. VinFast cars will meet Euro 5 emissions standards in a market and region that is currently regulated under Euro 4.

While the new cars are being built in Vietnam, and are initially aimed at the domestic market, safety testing is nevertheless being carried out in both Vietnam and Europe. This programme will ensure that VinFast’s cars far exceed the current safety standards in Vietnam. The company is targeting a five-star rating for both its sedan and SUV in ASEAN NCAP testing.

4. All-new state-of-the-art production complex

3.35 million sqm production complex developed with expertise from renowned automotive manufacturing specialists
$3.5 billion initial investment provides for capacity for up to 250,000 units
State-of-the-art factory will feature close to 2,000 robots and will deploy Industry 4.0 technologies
VinFast’s all-new production complex is one of Vietnam’s largest ever industrial projects and represents an initial investment of $3.5 billion. The new facility will enable a maximum volume of 250,000 units per year. There are plans to invest further in the site in a second phase of development.

Alongside the car production facilities, the complex will also be home to the VinFast eScooter manufacturing plant and the business’s operational centre, which was completed in June 2018. Series production of the eScooter will begin in December 2018.

VinFast has worked with leading automotive suppliers and consultants to ensure that the production complex will be one of the most advanced vehicle factories in the world. It fully embraces Industry 4.0 systems, with data collection and management systems, interconnected sensors and cloud servers supplied by Siemens and SAP. This technology will help VinFast continuously improve efficiency, productivity and quality in all areas of production.

The 50,000 m2 stamping shop contains production processes and technology provided by Schuler of Germany. It is almost fully automated using State-of-the-art servo drive presses ensure the best possible quality for stamped components.

The body shop (100,000 m2) will be the most modern in South East Asia, and has been designed and is fitted with technology from FFT, EBZ and Hirotec, and with over 1,200 robots manufactured by ABB. Automation powers all the welding processes, which helps to optimise quality. Adaptive automated spot welds are made by 965 robots, with robotic cells also used for transferring components and applying adhesives. Dimensional measuring systems, laser inspection and testing on the line will ensure exemplary build quality.

The primary partner for the paint shop is Durr, which has installed several advanced paint processes and technologies to ensure the paint process meets international environmental standards and delivers a world-class paint finish for VinFast cars. Its special ‘dry technology’ process minimises water use and provides the best possible coating. It will also be one of the leanest water-use paint shops of its kind anywhere in the world, while Durr’s EcoSmart VEC intelligent air management system maximises energy efficiency in the drying process. The paint shop has a capacity of over 800 vehicles per day.

The engine shop – the first volume car engine manufacturing facility in Vietnam – has been designed and supplied by industry leading specialists including GROB, Thyssenkrupp, AVL and MAG, with precision machining technology and a hot and cold inspection facility.

The 200,000 m2 assembly and finishing line is the result of a partnership with Eisenmann. It has designed and installed a highly automated conveyor infrastructure complete with automated guided vehicles for the final assembly line. The main assembly and finishing processes are highly flexible in allowing multiple car models to be assembled on the line at the same time.

Further partnerships are being progressed, in particular with a view to supporting world-class suppliers to locate facilities at the complex’s 700,000 m2 dedicated supplier park. This space will enable VinFast to support the ongoing development of the automotive supply chain in Vietnam, and increase the locally-supplied content to its factory. Several major global tier one suppliers have already committed to the supplier park, including Germany’s ZF Group, Lear Corporation of the USA, and Thailand’s APPICO.

Beyond partnerships in technology and production processes, VinFast is also partnering with Eckhert Schulen to train 200 apprentices each year at the purpose-built onsite training centre. With courses in Industrial Mechanics and Mechatronics delivered to German standards, graduates will receive a certificate issued by the German Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Movement of components around the production complex will use lean manufacturing principles, tracked by radio-frequency identification (RFID) technology for just-in-time delivery.

When the car production lines are operating at full capacity, the complex will employ approximately 4,000 people.

5. Pioneering Vietnam’s automotive industry

VinFast will manufacture first wholly Vietnamese-built range of vehicles
Model range will seek to exploit the ongoing boom in domestic car sales
Dedicated on-site supplier park will help broaden domestic automotive supply chain
Exports will commence in 2020
GM partnership deal sees VinFast licence a global city car for production and take ownership of GM’s Hanoi factory
Electric car and electric bus are also already in development
VinFast is Vietnam’s first high volume car company, spearheading the foundation of a transformative automotive industry. Its pioneering ambition is evident in its participation in the 2018 Mondial De L’Auto in Paris, where it unveiled two new premium cars – the LUX A2.0 sedan and the LUX SA2.0 SUV, which will be go into series production in 2019.

Vietnam is currently in a ’golden period’ of development, with significant inward investment and internal political support for major industrial projects. VinFast aims to take advantage of this economic climate, to exploit the ongoing boom in domestic car sales. Annual volumes are now around 300,000 units, but this is projected to triple to 900,000 per year by 2025.

The domestic car manufacturing industry currently servicing this demand is underdeveloped, but it has significant potential. At present, most car sales are of CKD (Completely Knocked Down) kit vehicles, which was necessary for overseas brands to avoid import tariffs on fully-assembled cars. However, in 2018, import taxes on such cars from other ASEAN states will reduce to 0%. More affordable imports could therefore trigger a significant shift in buying behaviour, with a negative knock-on effect for this low-level domestic manufacturing.

VinFast seeks to capitalise on the shift towards higher quality cars, by offering a compelling and wholly Vietnamese-built range of vehicles. While the domestic market is the first priority, exports will follow in 2020.

Leading global automotive suppliers will have a presence in VinFast’s all-new production complex in Hai Phong. This will encourage the development of a broader domestic automotive supply base, bolstering Vietnamese expertise and capabilities, and increasing the domestic content of VinFast’s cars.

Beyond the LUX models – a full range of vehicles

VinFast is already looking beyond the cars being launched in Paris. Development is already underway of a small city car in partnership with GM, a fully electric car being developed by EDAG, and a fully electric bus with the support of Siemens.

City car and GM partnership:

In June 2018, VinFast signed a partnership agreement with General Motors (GM) that included the licensing rights for an all-new, global small car that will be manufactured and sold under the VinFast brand. The new car will enter production in 2019 at a Hanoi plant that VinFast acquired from GM as part of the partnership agreement. Significant investment in the production facility will greatly increase capacity and will grow the manufacturing footprint of VinFast in Vietnam.

The agreement also granted VinFast exclusive distribution rights for the Chevrolet brand in Vietnam. GM will become a preferred automotive technology provider to VinFast, opening potential routes for future product sharing and technology transfer. The transfer of the GM Vietnam operation to VinFast – including the Hanoi plant, dealer network and employee base – is expected to be concluded by the end of 2018.

Electric car:

Following its investment to bring electric mobility to Vietnam in 2018 with the launch of a range of eScooters, VinFast will unveil an all-new fully electric car in 2019. Design development is being undertaken by renowned Italian design house, Italdesign Giugiaro, while complete engineering development of the car will be led by Germany’s EDAG, one of the world’s largest independent engineering service providers. With sales starting in early 2020, it is likely to be the very first electric car on sale in Vietnam.

Electric bus:

In August 2018, VinFast signed two agreements to cooperate with Siemens for the development of a fully electric bus (eBus). The agreement specifically relates to electric motor manufacturing licences and the supply of components to support the production of the eBus in Vietnam. Together with the production of e-scooters and electric cars, VinFast’s eBus will not only help improve the environment but also contribute to the transformation of the urban public transport system in Vietnam.

The agreements enable VinFast to establish a supply chain for the production of zero emissions public transport vehicles in Vietnam, contributing to the transformation and modernisation of the public transport sector in the country.

The collaboration with a world-leader brand in this field for the supply of technology and components demonstrates VinFast’s commitment to developing safe, reliable vehicles made in Vietnam with the European quality standards.

VinFast plans to begin production of the eBus by the end of 2019.

6. Delivering a better life for the people of Vietnam

VinFast will bring financial, social and environmental benefits to Vietnamese people
New manufacturing site will employ 4,000 people, and develop their skills
Environmental impact a major factor in development of new production complex
VinFast is committed to Vingroup’s mission to improve the lives of Vietnamese people; it is creating skilled jobs, producing high quality products, contributing to the transition of Vietnam’s economy into high value manufacturing, and will bring investment and export revenues into the country.

The construction of the new production facility also provides a significant economic boost to the region, with thousands of jobs created.

While a site of this size would normally take around five years to complete, VinFast is set to complete the construction within two years, aided by a workforce of 6,500 people at the peak of the build project. The facility’s buildings and key infrastructure are already completed, and installation of cutting-edge production equipment, tooling, paint and assembly technologies is underway. When the production complex is fully operational, it will employ approximately 4,000 people across the various manufacturing facilities.

As VinFast’s manufacturing operation is a completely new kind of undertaking in Vietnam, it has no in-depth automotive manufacturing expertise to call upon in the local market. Because of this, extensive training programmes will rapidly bring employees up to speed on how to assemble a vehicle from scratch, using to-scale models in ‘simulated work environment’ (SWE) conditions to demonstrate the lean manufacturing approach.

A technical training centre, which is also located on the VinFast complex, will provide apprenticeships in conjunction with the German Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Vietnam. Students – of which there are anticipated to be 200 every year – will work to achieve a certificate of qualification in AHK standards, giving them the skills and attributes to enable them to enter a higher grade of employment, thereby improving social mobility.

Ultimately, the new VinFast business will spearhead the transformation of the Vietnamese automotive industry, developing a first wave of technical, engineering and manufacturing capabilities with help from experienced overseas experts. It will not only pioneer the first end-to-end domestic vehicle manufacturing operation in the country but will also create a skilled automotive labour pool.

Sustainability and environmental considerations were also of high priority for VinFast. The initial engineering effort called upon Vietnam’s specialist soft-soil engineering capability, which is world-renowned and of which the country is exceptionally proud. Half of the land on which the production complex is built has been ‘reclaimed’ from the sea, so high-strength metal piles had to be driven 44 metres into the ground to provide the requisite deep foundations.

VinFast’s production complex also complies with all relevant Vietnamese environmental regulations, and in many cases, the company has paid a premium for low-energy technologies that will reduce its environmental impact to an even lower level. The gas used across the site will be LPG, and high-efficiency LED lighting will be installed throughout the plants.

Echoing the values of its parent, VinFast will bolster the industrial development of Vietnam, continue to spearhead the modernisation of the country, and improve the lives of the Vietnamese people.

7. Technical specifications

Please note: all data below is provisional and are subject to further testing and development processes. Performance figures are targets and do not represent homologated data.

LUX A2.0 sedan

Dimensions

Length x Width x Height (mm)

4973 x 1900 x 1464

Wheelbase (mm)

2968

Engine

2.0L, I4, DI, DOHC, twin-scroll turbo charger, VVT

Displacement (cc)

1997

Max. output

130kW (176 PS) @ 4,500 - 6,000rpm /

170 kW (231 PS) @ 5,000 - 6,000rpm

Max. torque

300Nm @ 1,750 - 4,000rpm /

350Nm @ 1,750 - 4,500rpm

Automatic start stop function

The engine is shut down and restarted automatically to reduce the amount of time the engine spends idling, thereby reducing fuel consumption and emissions

Transmission

ZF 8-speed Automatic Transmission

Drivetrain

RWD

Fuel

Gasoline

Emission standard

EURO V

Suspension / steering

Power Steering Assist

Electrohydraulic Power Steering (EHPS)

Front suspension

Independent wheel suspension, double wishbone with double-pivot lower arms and aluminium shock towers

Rear suspension

Independent wheel suspension, five link axle with track rod and tubular anti-roll bar

LUX SA2.0 SUV

Dimensions

Length x Width x Height (mm)

4940 x 1960 x 1773

Wheelbase (mm)

2933

Engine

2.0L, I4, DI, DOHC, twin-scroll turbo charger, VVT

Displacement (cc)

1997

Max. output

170 kW (231 PS hp) @ 5,000 - 6,000rpm

Max. torque

350 Nm @ 1,750 - 4,500rpm

Automatic start stop function

The engine is shut down and restarted automatically to reduce the amount of time the engine spends idling, thereby reducing fuel consumption and emissions

Transmission

ZF 8-speed Automatic Transmission

Drivetrain

RWD or AWD

Fuel

Gasoline

Emission standard

EURO V

Suspension / steering

Power Steering Assist

Electrohydraulic Power Steering (EHPS)

Front suspension

Independent wheel suspension, double wishbone with double-pivot lower arms and aluminium shock towers

Rear suspension

Independent wheel suspension, five link axle with track rod and tubular anti-roll bar, air suspension

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