Mr. Pham Van Dung, Managing Director of Ford Vietnam, spoke with VET about its business performance to date and what the future may hold.
■ How has Ford Vietnam’s business performance been this year? What sales figure do you anticipate for the year as a whole?
Our year-to-date sales in July rose 58 per cent since a year ago, to 10,357 units, led by continued strength in demand across our vehicle lineup. This helped Ford continue to be one of the fastest-growing automotive brands in Vietnam this year and follows our record full-year sales performances in the country in both 2013 and 2014.
We expect this momentum to continue throughout the remainder of the year, supported by the introduction of even more global Ford vehicles in Vietnam, including the new Ranger and new Focus.
■ Do you think Vietnam has potential for auto manufacturers like Ford?
Absolutely. With a population of more than 90 million, a rapidly rising middle class, and a relatively stable macro-economic outlook, the potential for automakers in Vietnam remains positive. Ford is currently the largest foreign investor in the automotive industry and we plan to continue growing our business and serve even more Vietnamese customers.
■ What are your plans to continue driving Ford’s growth in Vietnam?
We plan to further drive our growth by continuing to introduce global Ford vehicles that Vietnamese customers want and value, as well as by continuing our ongoing efforts to provide the very best Ford customer and ownership experience.
Our current Vietnam showroom features a full lineup of global Ford vehicles that are truly connecting with so many different lives and lifestyles of Vietnamese customers by offering unmatched combinations of quality, safety, fuel efficiency, smart technologies, and value. Proof of their wide appeal is the success of vehicles like the Ranger and Transit, which have been Vietnam’s best-selling pickup truck and commercial van, respectively, since 2014.
We also plan to continue expanding our nationwide Ford dealership network to provide even more convenience and accessibility for our fast growing customer base. We currently have 29 dealerships in key locations throughout the country. Our professionally trained sales and service consultants will continue to serve our customers and help us to launch new and enhanced after-sales initiatives.
■ What challenges face automobile makers in Vietnam at this time?
We would like to continue working with the government on developing a clear, consistent and long-term strategy through automotive policies that provide equal opportunity among all brands in building the industry’s competitiveness. Vietnam’s automotive market is relatively small compared with the other ASEAN countries, so current economies of scale are challenging but could be improved upon with the support of an appropriate long-term automotive plan.
■ Import taxes on automobiles from the EU and Japan may be fully removed within the next decade under the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement and the TPP. How do you think this will affect Vietnam’s automobile market?
Ford supports free trade agreements as well as policies that are clear and consistent and provide equal opportunity for all brands. We look forward to the auto industry working closely with the government to develop policies that help build a locally, regionally, and globally competitive auto industry in Vietnam, which would be supported by these FTAs as well as the ASEAN Free Trade Agreement (AFTA).
■ What suggestions would you like to make to policymakers on developing the automobile industry?
Last year the Strategy and Master Plan for Vietnam’s Auto Industry was approved by the Prime Minister, which is a step in the right direction. We look forward to appropriate ministries and industry stakeholders working together in formulating implementation programs and policies for the Master Plan. We look forward to clear, predictable and consistent action plans that provide a level playing field for all brands.
■ Would you care to make any other comments?
We look forward to helping drive the growth of Vietnam’s auto industry and to continuing our momentum by introducing more global Ford vehicles and serving our fast-growing base of Vietnamese customers.