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Source: Vietnamese car brand VinFast to launch in PH this 2nd quarter

We know this plan is definitely taking place because the team is already in place

Is there a place for a Vietnamese electric compact crossover like the VF e34 on our market? PHOTO FROM VINFAST

We know people are tired of hearing news about Chinese car brands entering the Philippines, so maybe this development will find more welcoming ears among our readers. That’s because it doesn’t have China in the spotlight for a change—instead, the focus shifts to Vietnam. Specifically, this is about the Vietnamese car brand VinFast officially launching in our market soon.

How soon exactly? Our source says it will happen in the second quarter of the year. Which means it should take place no later than June.

Now, please know that—especially these days—I hardly get excited by reports of a new automaker planning to do business in our country. I mean, our car industry has witnessed a few rumors about new brands that turned out to be exactly that—whispers. Nothing more, nothing less.

Some of these I personally wrote about. There was the plan of Legado Motors to bring in South Korea’s Renault Samsung Motors, and then there was that wishful thinking to complement Peugeot with fellow French manufacturer Citroen when the former was still handled by Eurobrands Distributor Inc. Looking back, I may have let my guard down and allowed myself to be used by overoptimistic executives who merely needed a media platform to test their business plans.

And I’ve seen more earnest attempts to sell cars in the Philippines—complete with marketing tactics, but to no avail. For instance, we’ve been hearing about Omoda since February last year—the ‘distributor’ has even brought journalists to China more than once—and the formal launch still hasn’t materialized. The Chinese country director even told us that Omoda would be the “number one Chinese car brand” in the Philippines by 2025. How he intends to pull this off without first establishing showrooms at this time, I have no idea.

But I digress.

Looks like the party is about to start for VinFast Philippines. FACEBOOK POST BY VINFAST

I just shared the above stories to point out that similar speculations no longer impress me. But the VinFast narrative is different. Mostly because the team members are now in place, ready to commence their business. The CEO is Vietnamese, but the key officers are veteran Filipino industry executives. In fact, I can name one of them: Cherrey Lou Villaester, who will be marketing director.

Other than this, my source kept mum about more details, including the vehicles to be launched. My informant did share with me VinFast’s above social media post. Hence, the VF e34 photo I used for this article. Somehow this tells me that the company will market an all-electric vehicle lineup.

Pham Nhat Vuong (to the right of President Bongbong Marcos) is the richest man in Vietnam. He owns VinFast. PHOTO FROM PRESIDENTIAL COMMUNICATIONS OFFICE

In the process of writing this piece, I stumbled upon this Facebook post last January 29 by the Presidential Communications Office. This is relevant to our topic because it shows Pham Nhat Vuong, Vietnam’s first billionaire and the owner of VinFast. The caption reads:

President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. met with Vingroup to discuss collaboration on artificial intelligence (AI) and medical courses. Vingroup committed to offering 20 scholarships for Filipino students and highlighted shared goals in the electric vehicle (EV) and battery production sectors.

The talks also included the ongoing Public Utility Vehicle Modernization Program, local processing of nickel, and educational reforms. PBBM praised Vietnam’s practices and suggested the potential for EV assembly in the Philippines.

Now, that is serious. But I choose to take this with a pinch of salt. Who could forget the collaboration between President Fidel V. Ramos and Proton in the ’90s?

Here’s hoping the VinFast goal won’t crumble like chips in a card game between businessmen and politicians.

Vernon B. Sarne

Vernon is the founder and editor-in-chief of VISOR. He has been an automotive journalist since July 1995. He became one by serendipity, walking into the office of a small publishing company and applying for a position he had no idea was for a local car magazine. God has watched over him throughout his humble journey. He writes the ‘Spoiler’ column.