Friday, December 16, 2022

Amazingly damning review of a Vietnamese luxury electric car intended for the US

From a long review and travelogue at Jalopnik:

On September 18, I joined a group of nearly a hundred journalists, influencers, hopeful VinFast customers, and employees on a chartered flight from San Francisco to Vietnam. Our group crossed the international date line and deplaned near Ha Long Bay, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. From the airport, we took a bus and a boat to VinPearl Ha Long Bay, a resort on a private island owned by Vingroup.

I had done my research before the trip. I knew Vingroup was big. But at that moment, I realized I had vastly underestimated how powerful this company was, not to mention its insistence on flair and over-the-top opulence. 


Vingroup has businesses all over Vietnam. You might buy groceries at VinMart and clothing at VinPlaza. Your family vacations might be at a Disney-style VinWonder theme park, or you might book a grown-up getaway at a VinPearl resort. Your phone might be a VinSmart. Your office might be owned by Vincom Office, your house or apartment building part of VinHomes. Your child could be born at a VinMec hospital, attend VinSchool, and upon graduation, matriculate at the recently-launched VinUniversity. 


Our chance to drive the VF8 wouldn’t be for a few days, though. Until then, VinFast had more of Vietnam to show us. It’s hard to conceptualize the scale of VinGroup, but luckily the VinFast team was there to demonstrate for us what the brand had achieved all over Hanoi. 


To say I was frustrated would have been the biggest understatement east of the prime meridian. ... I’d been flown 8,000 miles to tootle around in a car that clearly wasn’t anywhere near done. I was pissed that the company had wasted my time.