Vietnam joins the global auto industry with VinFast

Midsize sedan and SUV use BMW previous generation 5 Series, X5 platforms

Published: October 2, 2018, 9:30 PM
Updated: November 21, 2021, 2:59 PM

VinFast LUX SA2.0 SUV debut at 2018 Paris Motor Show

The auto industry is welcoming a new player, with Vietnam’s VinFast debuting two models — a midsized sedan and matching SUV — at the Mondial de l’Automobile in Paris.

Taking design cues from Pininfarina and engineering from BMW, the vehicles are due to go into production in fall 2019 as the launch of what the Vietnamese company says will be a global venture. To add star-power to the venture, VinFast brought along former England international David Beckham for the public debut. He was joined by Miss Vietnam 2018, Trần Tiểu Vy.

“I’ve always been a car fanatic, and it’s a thrill to be here in Paris to celebrate the arrival of a new carmaker on the global stage,” said Beckham, “The passion that the VinFast team have for these cars is infectious. It’s an inspirational story and I’m really excited to have been part of this launch moment for VinFast.”

VinFast was represented at the unveiling of the brand and products by Chairwoman Le Thi Thu Thuy, CEO James DeLuca (formerly GM’s Executive VP of Global Manufacturing, Manufacturing Engineering, and Labor Relations) and designer David Lyon (previously GM’s Executive Director of Interior Design of North America, having input into Cadillac’s original CTS before becoming Buick’s chief designer).

Both vehicles — the LUX A2.0 sedan and LUX SA2.0 SUV — will get power from BMW’s 2.0-litre turbocharged 4-cylinder, with the ZF 8-speed automatic sending power to either the rear wheels or all wheels (presumably, the SUV will only be available in AWD).

The two BMW platforms (reportedly the previous generations of the 5 Series and X5) have supposedly been tweaked to pass current and future safety regulations around the world. The looks were chosen by the Vietnamese people in October 2017 from a selection of renderings.

The vehicles will enter the Vietnamese domestic market in fall 2019, with the company exploring export opportunities in the years following. The company says it is also working on a range of other vehicles, including electric models, city cars and scooters, in order to fill out a line for export to various other markets around the world.