Ex-Diplomat From Vietnam, Chau, Appointed As CEO Of Vinfast India

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VinFast, the electric vehicle manufacturer from Vietnam, has named Pham Sanh Chau the CEO of its operations in India. Chau, a seasoned Vietnamese politician, educator, and diplomat with over twenty years of experience, has been instrumental in enhancing the diplomatic ties between Vietnam and India while serving as ambassador.

Vietnam’s VinFast Auto, an electric vehicle producer, has recently chosen Pham Sanh Chau as the CEO for its Indian operations. Chau, renowned as a Vietnamese politician, educator, and diplomat, held the position of Vietnam’s ambassador to India, Nepal, and Bhutan from 2018 to 2022. His significant contributions to bolstering Vietnam-India relations have been recognized as key to his new role, according to sources familiar with the matter.

VinFast, part of the Vin Group, is finalizing its strategies for India. It has also appointed Ashwin Patil, previously with Kia India, as its Vice President and Director for the Indian market. Announcements regarding the leadership team, product launch plans, and sales strategies in India are expected by the end of November.

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VinFast is the first company to introduce exclusively electric vehicles in India, planning to debut two imported models in 2024 and considering establishing a manufacturing facility.

Although attempts to contact Chau and VinFast Auto’s Director of Communications went unanswered, the company has established its headquarters in Gurugram and is actively recruiting for various operational roles, including product planning and strategy.

Initially, VinFast will introduce two models as completely built units (CBUs) to gauge market interest, which is currently undergoing homologation. Unlike a niche player, VinFast aims for significant market volumes in India, introducing a premium e-SUV at an accessible price point.

The company is building extensive distribution networks, collaborating with local dealerships and third-party distributors to enhance market reach. By the end of 2024, VinFast aims to have a presence in up to 50 global markets as part of its expansion strategy, as mentioned in its investor presentation for the September quarter.

VinFast’s accelerated entry into the Indian market coincides with speculations that the Indian government will offer tax incentives to Tesla for establishing an electric vehicle facility in India. A recent Financial Times report highlighted the possibility of the Indian government reducing duties on all-electric vehicles, a move requested by Tesla as a precondition for setting up a local plant.

Founded by Pham Nhat Vuong, VinFast, which launched its electric cars globally in 2021, sees India as a primary market for right-hand-drive vehicles and expects Asia to contribute significantly to its global sales in the coming years. While the company is still deciding on the location for its manufacturing unit in India, initial plans include a production capacity of 50,000 units annually, potentially increasing to 200,000 to 300,000 units.

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