Automobile Propre already tested it in Vietnam this summer but now the Vinfast VF8 arrives in France. A little flagship The Parisian knew how to allow us to discover behind the scenes the deployment of this new manufacturer.
Vinfast: from noodles to cars…
Historic markings can still be scary! After the massive and recent rush of Chinese brands (MG, Aiways, etc.), make way for a Vietnamese brand to invade Europe! We owe it to Pham Nhât Vuong, the country’s first billionaire, whom some define as “the Vietnamese Elon Musk.” Or how to make a fortune on instant noodles (or “noodles” for friends) in… Ukraine in the early 90s. The project sold to Nestlé, the entrepreneur then returned to Vietnam to open a luxury hotel under the Vinpearl Resort label in 2003, then a shopping center in Hanoi in 2004, the Vincom Ba Trieu. Vingroup enters the automotive sector in 2017, launching Vinfast with an ultra-modern and 90% automated factory capable of producing 500,000 vehicles per year, expandable to 1.2 million, well helped by the hyper-proximity of multiple suppliers to the hub of the hub.
The first focus of the Vinfast brand will be in 2018, at the Paris Motor Show, with the presentation of two models: a large sedan and an SUV based on the BMW 5 Series and X5, the LUX A2.0 and the LUX SA.2.0 . Two cars joined by the VF E34 (no, not a BMW 5 Series base this time!) as well as a rebadged Opel Karl Rocks/Chevrolet Spark Activ to launch the brand in Vietnam.
The renowned VF e35 and e36 follow in early 2022, at the CES in Las Vegas, VF 8 and VF 9, the two models that will present the brand in Europe. Phew!
CES was also the scene for the unveiling of the smaller VF 5, 6 and 7 SUVs. The latter has also been shown in Oslo ever since, styled by Torino Design (“our” VF 8 is from the well-known Pininfarina but we’ll come back to this ). It should arrive in 2023.
All these cars have the common stylistic point of this “winged V”, which evokes Vietnam and recalls the entrance to the Vinfast production center in Hanoi. A first Vietnamese car brand that the locals are proud of with a simultaneous launch in three foreign markets and with local hospitality in a rewarding and technological package. A new trajectory for a country that has only been at peace for fifty years.
Note that Vinfast switched completely to electric in August.
It is here the VF 8 that will interest us mainly, an electric SUV with a premium orientation whose format points to a competitive market with us. Several hundred deliveries of the car were made on September 10, when it will be necessary to wait until December for deliveries in the other target territories, namely, in addition to France, the Netherlands, Germany, the United States and Canada.
Vinfast and its version of the customer experience
According to Vinfast, the customer experience may have its dose of digital, but the customer still needs the real thing and therefore the showrooms! We’re expecting 13 for Europe by the end of the year, including two in Paris, at Madeleine (not far from Tesla, well!) and at Raspail. There will be 20 in 2023, for a goal of 50 in Europe. Then we look forward to the opening of showrooms in Marseille, Nantes, Rennes, Nice, Montpellier, Aix-en-Provence and Metz.
Following a certain Apple strategy, Vinfast wants to streamline and simplify customer contact, compared to the outdated “dealership” ethos. Since genius will then be able to present the vehicles and guide you in their configuration and purchase, whose reservations (VF 8 and VF 9) are already open online.
For car maintenance, Vinfast bets on service: in the traditional meeting, the brand would offer either a mobile workshop at the address of your choice (depending on the operations to be carried out) or even a jockey for total support of the vehicle during the intervention. Therefore, some showrooms will have a workshop section. In this chapter, Vinfast also goes for serenity with a 10-year or 200,000 km (!) warranty.
Test – VinFast VF 8, the most European of the Asians
The Vinfast VF 8 – the family SUV at the heart of Vinfast’s European rollout.
Let’s move on to the car presented in this temporary Parisian showroom: the VF 8! Platform: BMW X5. Style: Pininfarina, we remind you. Despite everything, here we can only find similarities with well-known competitors: two-stage headlights like the Citroën C5 Aircross, silhouette of the rear end reminiscent of a mix between Porsche Cayenne-Macan / DS 7 (orange color also for the this last one!), taillight signature reminiscent of a Ford Mustang Mach-E, etc., just minor references. However, the car presents itself well and features some well felt ribbing on the bodywork. At 4.75m long, 1.93m wide, 1.67m high, the VF 8 is a few centimeters larger than the aforementioned American: this is a large family SUV.
The interior has quite a refined atmosphere and a large Tesla Model 3 touchscreen tablet with the headlight illumination and steering wheel adjustment tucked away in there. Fans of the genre will not miss out! Here too, the car presents itself well overall, despite a currently somewhat outdated steering wheel and air vents – more advanced elements in the bigger brother VF 9, more exclusive and (even) bigger. We appreciated the nice on-screen graphics and the vehicle movement buttons neatly placed on the center console. This being a pre-series car destined for Vietnam, we’ll be careful not to give a definitive opinion on the fluidity of the on-screen animations, as well as the quality of the finish (albeit quite honorable), and the bodywork adjustments. It will be reviewed during the presentation of the cars in the first real showrooms in France.
In terms of specifications, the VF 8, exclusively in all-wheel drive, offers two finishes, Eco and Plus, which differ in presentation, equipment and power of their electric motors (353 hp and 500 Nm of torque, compared to 408 hp and 620 Nm of torque, 0-100 km/h in 5.9 or 5.5 s). Both versions allow you to choose a battery of 82 kWh or 87.7 kWh useful, surprisingly close capacities. Enough to promise 400 to 471 km of WLTP autonomy, and recharge from 10 to 70% in 24 or 31 minutes, in direct current.
The car is shown from €46,050, with the subtlety of battery rental! An option offered at the launch of the Renault Zoé, which had not really been successful. It will continue here. It’s peace of mind that’s touted: during subscription, maintenance, repairs, or even possible replacement (if charging capacity is less than 70%) they’re brand-supported, unlimited mileage. The battery subscription is then on the VF 8 for €120 per month. The price including the cost of the battery starts at €62,200, reflecting the level of autonomy of the car and the complete equipment (level 2 semi-autonomous driving, head-up display, etc.). Note that the car benefited in September from a home delivery option for optimized handling. Offer that could be extended.
Attractive design, updated technologies, high-performance electric motors and purchase offers that offer a fairly new battery rental offer, the Vinfast VF 8 integrates with arguments into the segment of family SUVs. To be confirmed in static and dynamic with specimens dedicated to the French market!
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