Never heard of Vinfast? If the Vietnamese manufacturer has its way, you soon will.
The new brand, Vietnam’s first volume car manufacturer, signed up football icon David Beckham to help launch a saloon and an SUV in Paris.
Both of the new models have been designed in collaboration with Italian vehicle stylist Pininfarina and built using BMW platforms and engines. The Lux A2.0 saloon is based on the outgoing BMW 5 Series, while the BMW X5 provided the basis for the Lux SA2.0 SUV.
Both will be powered by BMW 2.0-litre turbo petrol engines with two power outputs, and will be available in rear and all-wheel drive variants.
According to Vinfast the design of both cars was decided following a public vote on 20 designs submitted by renowned styling houses Italdesign Giugiaro, Pininfarina, Torino Design and Zagato.
Two designs were chosen, both from Giugiaro, and Vinfast then worked with Pininfarina to develop them to production level.
The pair will go into production in mid-2019, at a new facility being built on reclaimed land near the Vietnamese port of Hai Phong, the plant described as one of Vietnam’s biggest-ever industrial projects.
They will be launched first in their home market, but the presence of Vinfast at the Paris show demonstrates clearly the brand’s ambitions towards international sales.
The brand is understood to have also secured the rights to produce a version of the city car sold in the UK as the Vauxhall Viva, while further plans include an electric scooter and an electric bus.
Vinfast is a subsidiary of Vingroup, Vietnam’s largest privately-owned business. Celebrating its 25th anniversary in 2018, had revenues in 2017 of 3.9 million US dollars.