More than 400 engineers have been creating platforms for each of the inaugural editions, incorporating extensive use of aluminum and hot-stamped ultra-high strength steels.
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Upwards of 62,000 Vietnamese citizens voted in a poll that presented 20 design sketches for choosing the overall winning appearance concepts for both the sedan and SUV. Testing of 300 developmental vehicles revolving around a turbocharged 2.0-litre inline four-cylinder gasoline engine is currently underway in Vietnam and Europe. Slated also is an eventual wide range of VinFast-branded electric cars, buses and scooters.
Per a June agreement, VinFast has assumed full ownership of GM’s Hanoi plant with the goal of producing a line of GM-licensed small cars starting in 2019. VinFast now has exclusive Vietnamese distribution rights for the Chevrolet brand plus other cooperative ventures, such as GM becoming a preferred technology provider.
“The automotive industry in Vietnam is set to become a key growth engine for economic development and we now have the strongest possible local partner in VinFast to grow Chevrolet and drive our brand forward,” says GM International President Barry Engle. “The GM-VinFast strategic partnership will best position the Chevrolet brand and dealer network for long-term growth in Vietnam by leveraging GM’s global scale and expertise, married with VinFast’s domestic strength and insight.”
“This partnership will act as a catalyst as we work tirelessly to bring our VinFast vision to life,” DeLuca points out.
In September of 2017 VinFast broke ground for a purpose-built 800-plus acre (36 million sq.-ft.) plant now nearing completion on a site partially reclaimed from the sea near the major port city of Hai Phong, northern Vietnam. (With the civil war having ended in 1975, North Vietnam and South Vietnam no longer exist as separate entities; they are now united as one nation.)
DeLuca reports that the ultra-modern $1.5-billion VinFast factory is one of Vietnam’s largest-ever industrial projects, encompassing state-of-the-art construction and world-class production equipment and manufacturing processes. Data collection and management systems, interconnected sensors and cloud servers are being supplied by Siemens and SAP.
Schuler, FFT, EBZ and Hirotec are outfitting the stamping and body production lines as ABB is supplying more than 1,200 robots. Eisenmann’s assembly and finishing line installations include a highly automated and flexible array of conveyor belts and self-propelled trucks that allow multiple models to be assembled at the same time. Dürr is the primary painting partner, while the engine shop has been engineered and equipped by GROB, Thyssenkrupp, AVL and MAG IAS.
Further vendor relationships are being pursued to put together a dedicated “supplier park” within the vast complex. According to DeLuca, “This space will enable VinFast to support the ongoing development of the automotive supply chain in Vietnam and increase the locally-supplied content” for its factory.
VinFast is partnering with Eckert-Schulen to annually train 200 apprentices at a purpose-built onsite training center. With courses in Industrial Mechanics and Mechatronics adhering to German engineering standards, graduates will receive a certificate issued by the German Chamber of Commerce and Industry.