Vietnamese start-up VinFast has released photos of its first two models, a sedan and – surprise! – an SUV. The teaser images only show the exteriors, and the completely black windows suggest these are merely full-size models rather than running cars. Both boast a long wheelbase and on-point, yet relatively restrained design details.
Both have a common DRG, as was previously teased in sketches, with skinny LED headlights, the uppermost element of which runs along the top of a large grille before dropping down in parallel with the ‘V’ logo (a similar graphic is achieved at the rear of both cars, using the tail lights).
Curiously, the ‘F’ of VinFast is meant to be symbolised by the chrome detail on the driver’s-left side of the grille, which looks more like the sort of thing you’d use to release your phone’s SIM card. According to VinFast, though, it actually “combines with the LED daytime running lights to create an italicised F-motif, representing the second syllable of VinFast, and a unique asymmetric flourish.” So there.
The SUV naturally adds more black-and-silver plastic cladding below the grille, and along the side skirts, for added visual ruggedness compared to the sedan.
“The strong, distinguishable design, enhanced by elegant lines and refined details, gives our cars several distinctive highlights,” says design director David Lyon of the ItalDesign proposals that Pininfarina have finished off.
“First and foremost, these emanate around the V logo in the grille which references the country of Vietnam, as well as the Vingroup and VinFast brands. In conjunction with Pininfarina, we have carefully sculptured each body line to express the natural beauty of Vietnam and the warm-hearted and dynamic characteristics of its people through a modern and world-class design language.”
While the SUV has very conventional proportions, the long-nosed sedan’s DLO reaches past the vertical centreline of the rear wheels (slightly awkwardly pulling the door’s shutline all the way back with it), which suggests that space in the rear seats was a priority despite the cab-rearward balance.
The extensive design input from veteran Italian design houses has so far imbued VinFast with a maturity of aesthetic that many new start-ups don’t really have. While not exactly groundbreaking, they look well finished, and largely avoid trying too hard. We shall see if this feeling extends to the interior at a later date.