VinFast coming in as subsidiary, says insiders
2022 and 2023 will be remembered as the time when Chinese auto brands went full steam ahead in the Philippine market. Everyone wants to compete, and it’s changing the landscape for automotive consumers that demand more, but for much less compared to the rising prices of Japanese and Korean brands.
2024 is set to be more of the same but with a twist. While we know of a few new and upcoming brands from China that are looking to make an impact here, another company from a different country in mainland Asia wants to launch here.
We’re talking about VinFast from Vietnam.
VinFast has already set up a motorcycle office here as a subsidiary and not a local distributor partner. They have been actively marketing it on social media, but on the automotive side, we haven’t seen any new developments yet. There have been some sightings of VinFast vehicles driving around places such as Bonifacio Global City, but beyond that, there hasn’t been much… until now.
What we know is that VinFast is actively hiring experienced executives to fill key roles in the company. Much in the same way that other brands were hiring key individuals last year, now it seems it’s VinFast’s turn to get some experienced people to fill their posts.
But what is VinFast and why should we pay attention to what they have to offer?
VinFast is actually one of the world’s newest automobile companies, and the first homegrown one to come out of our Southeast Asian neighbor Vietnam when they were established in 2017. Yes, Vietnam has its own bonafide automobile and motorcycle brand that has export ambitions while the Philippines does not.
The company is under the umbrella of the largest conglomerate in Vietnam: the Vingroup. They started out by hiring experienced executives from a lot of other companies, though reports from 2017 indicate a significant presence of former General Motors people; the reason is that they have a partnership with GM as the distributor there. They even acquired the former GM plant in Vietnam and used the existing GM model (Opel Karl/Chevrolet Spark) albeit rebadged as the VinFast Fadil.
Today, VinFast produces ICE vehicles such as the VinFast Lux A2.0 and Lux SA2.0 which are based on BMW platforms; 5 Series F10 and X5 F15, respectively. But the company seems to be transitioning towards electric mobility and now has an expansive EV lineup; two of which have been spotted in Metro Manila.
Of course, VinFast will have a lot to prove to succeed in the Philippines. This may be a relatively small market, but it is a very competitive one due to the many brands already present here. And based on what we've viewed, heard, and read so far from people who have experienced what they offer, quite a bit of the feedback about VinFast’s models hasn’t been rosy.
Let’s see if their newer models can impress once they officially launch here.