The new VinFast cars, which are on display at the 2018 Paris Motor Show, offer a top-level engine that is comfortable and safe, saving fuel while minimising pollution. Günter K. Fraidl, Senior Vice President of AVL, a leading engine and powertrain designer that has partnered with VinFast to revise the famous BMW N20 engine, speaks with local media about the advanced engines.\
Günter K. Fraidl, Senior Vice President of AVL, a leading engine and powertrain designer that has partnered with VinFast to revise the famous BMW N20 engine. — Photo autocarpro.in
As Senior Vice President in charge of powertrain systems for AVL, could you tell us more about the role of AVL in designing and manufacturing VinFast automobiles?
The VinFast engine was developed based on technology and components licensed from BMW. Magna Steyr has been selected as VinFast’s engineering partner for the development of their new vehicles.
AVL has also been selected to help develop the powertrain, in close collaboration with Magna Steyr.
When did AVL start co-operating with VinFast? How do you evaluate the feasibility of the new Vietnamese brand?
VinFast started market research and car modeling in September 2017. It is expected to debut new products from its manufacturing facility in the northern city of Hải Phòng in June 2019. This means that less than two years since it started its research, the new cars will be available.
The implementation speed of this project goes far beyond world automobile industry standards. As for AVL, this is actually a challenge. But AVL is the most suitable partner for this project, especially when it comes to identifying new partners, convincing them to join and adhering to the strict schedule.
One of AVL’s jobs is to re-design the engine. What is special about the VinFast engine?
With popular engines that must serve global markets, it is impossible to adapt the product to the character of each region and nation. Therefore, VinFast’s approach is to revise the N20 engine – one of the best engines in the world – to meet Vietnamese demands.
The N20’s new-generation Valvetronic system is replaced with a robust and efficient system that helps cut maintenance costs. Meanwhile, steering control is also tailored to the demand of the Vietnamese people.
I assure you that this is one of the best engines in the world, matching the Vietnamese people’s demand. The engine is locally produced by the world’s most modern manufacturing chain, which we imported from Germany to ensure top quality at a competitive price.
How does AVL know how to localise the VinFast engine?
Before designing the powertrain, AVL conducted intensive market research to identify the demands of Vietnamese consumers. We tested driving demands on different test vehicles, which were equipped with the most sophisticated measurement equipment like AVL Drive, and researched specific concerns such as fuel savings, service quality and weather conditions.
We also sent experts to Việt Nam to learn about the Vietnamese people’s driving habits in order to make sure the engine is best suited to the nation’s transport systems and local drivers. This process is very complicated, so the VinFast engine is extremely special. This is the only engine in the world to be tailored to a specific market.
From the view of an expert, how would you evaluate the VinFast engine?
VinFast’s special engine will offer top-level, international-standard driving quality. It will save fuel and minimise pollution emissions, and will be comfortable and safe. It really is suitable for Việt Nam. The cars are made in Việt Nam but with the world’s leading modern manufacturing processes to ensure quality at a reasonable price.
The modern eight-gear ZF 8HP Gearbox will ensure efficient performance and top quality.
Will AVL participate in designing future generations of the VinFast engine?
AVL is pleased to support VinFast in establishing its own R&D capabilities to be able to improve products during the manufacturing process and develop its own technologies. This will be a time-consuming process, but initiatives started from a place of passion have the potential to achieve greatness.
The road to success is not always easy. Has AVL overcome challenges?
Building a new organisation, seeking appropriate members and setting up manufacturing and operating processes is a great challenge, but perhaps the biggest challenge is the project’s timeframe. There is no precedent in the automotive industry. We used existing technologies and established partnerships between VinFast, Magna AVL and other qualified suppliers to overcome this challenge.
Many people have questioned why AVL decided to co-operate with a new automotive company, which has not yet established a reputation in the global automobile industry. Can you provide an explanation?
AVL considers Southeast Asia one of the most promising markets for new brands. With VinFast’s financial resources and strong foundations, we believe they can turn their vision into reality. AVL are honored to be involved and interested in sharing this dream.
In addition, the supply of high-end products and features in such an incredibly short time is an interesting challenge that we were eager to take on. — VNS