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Vietnam automaker VinFast unveils $164k SUV to burnish brand

Luxury model goes on sale same month government slashes economic growth target

VinFast plans to produce just 500 of the luxury President SUVs. (Photos courtesy of VinFast)

HO CHI MINH CITY -- VinFast, the automaker founded by Vietnam's richest man, has unveiled an SUV for his well-to-do compatriots. Priced at $164,000, the luxury VinFast President went on sale Monday and will have a production run of just 500 vehicles, because it is "exclusively for the Vietnamese market," according to a statement from the company.

But while consumer spending is expected to bounce back in Vietnam -- one of the few markets to continue growing amid the pandemic -- given the President's hefty price tag, analysts see the SUV less as a product for domestic consumers and more as a step toward burnishing the brand.

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