HANOI, June 12 (Reuters) - Vietnam’s first domestic car manufacturer, VinFast, said on Friday it has opened a research and development centre in the Australian city of Melbourne, in a move to support the company’s plans for international expansion.
The centre will have a staff of nearly 100 people and initially focus on developing both gasoline-driven and electric cars, VinFast, a unit of Vietnam’s largest conglomerate Vingroup JSC, said in a press statement.
The company said late last month it would start the mass production of its first electric models next year at its plant in Vietnam and will target the U.S. market.
VinFast said it will use battery cells made by South Korea’s LG Chem.
Vinfast, which sold its first gasoline-powered cars last year, sold 5,124 vehicles in the local market in the first quarter of this year, putting it in fifth place and ahead of brands such as Mitsubishi, Mazda and Ford. (Reporting by Khanh Vu Editing by Ed Davies)