There is a slightly outmoded theory that states the presence of steady automotive manufacturing reflects a developed country’s economic strength. Intuitively, this makes sense—attractive vehicle designs, robust safety features, precise mechanical engineering, durable electronics, and the capability to assemble it all require talent from nearly every technical field.
Plus, the 30,000 or so components that go into a vehicle need to be sourced from many places around the world, so an expansive network of supply chains is needed to feed continued production.
We bring this up because Vietnam is becoming Southeast Asia’s next major automotive manufacturing hub. A variety of consumer vehicles are already assembled in the country, chiefly by utilizing knockdown kits—a prepared collection of parts that just need to be bolted together.
But VinFast is changing the landscape. It’s the automotive unit of Vingroup—Vietnam’s largest conglomerate—and the only domestic vehicle brand. Its production buildout has lured Vietnamese talent that has been working abroad to return to their homeland.
More broadly, VinFast is creating a new class of automotive sector workers who have highly developed skills. By referencing developments in other countries with more advanced EV sectors, these individuals may strike out on their own to develop their own EV brands too.
In the era of electric vehicles, perhaps the theory that was mentioned above can be updated to suggest the presence of high-volume EV production reflects the economic promise of any country, including emerging economies.
VinFast’s ambitions are hardly limited to its home market. It’s developing a strong presence in the United States too, as our media partner Nikkei Asia reported.
KrASIA has a series of articles in the pipeline to unpack Vietnam’s investment scene. Stay tuned.