VinFast, an upstart automaker from Vietnam, will enter the U.S. market this year. The company, founded in 2017 by Vingroup, is currently producing vehicles in its home country. Later this year, two all-electric SUVs arrive stateside, models that will later be built in North Carolina. We will outline this company’s progress and what it means for you, the consumer.
In the Beginning
VinFast is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Vingroup. Vingroup may not be a household name in the United States, but it is in Vietnam. In this Southeast Asian nation, the company is the largest conglomerate, the name behind various technology, real estate, retail, and service endeavors. The company is publicly traded and listed on the Ho Chi Minh City stock exchange.
As for VinFast, the company was created for the purpose of mass-producing cars for Vietnam. The country is served by several foreign automakers (e.g., GM, Toyota, and the Thaco Group), but until VinFast came along, there was no homegrown entity. To help it in its effort, the firm recruited established manufacturers such as Pininfarina, BMW, and Magna Steyr. The company also tapped several western executives to help with its launch.
VinFast introduced its initial products at the 2018 Paris Auto Show. That followed securing property, breaking ground, and building a manufacturing facility in Vietnam. In 2019, the company launched three car models and three e-scooters for the local market.
By 2020, VinFast was the largest producer of passenger conveyances in several categories. The following year the company introduced two new electric scooters and an electric bus. Further, VinFast pivoted to all-electric cars by developing three new models. The smallest of the three was designed exclusively for the Vietnamese market. The two larger models, VF 8 and VF 9 will target international markets.
With the company’s foundation established, serving global markets is the next logical step. To that end, VinFast is readying the VF 8 and VF 9 for overseas sales. The company has also established offices and showrooms in Europe, Canada, and the United States.
One of the most significant moves made this automaker was made in April 2022. That is when the business announced it would build a manufacturing facility in Chatham County, North Carolina. The plant will build the VF 8 and VF 9 models once it comes online in 2024. Both EVs are midsized models with the former offering two rows of seating and the latter three rows.
Subscription Service Initially
For its introduction into the U.S. market, VinFast will offer a subscription service. Here, customers will lease a vehicle without a battery, then subscribe to a battery package that meets their needs. The program is in place through 2023. After that, new customers will purchase their vehicles including the first U.S.-made ones later in 2024. The North Carolina plant will have an initial build capacity of 150,000 units with the ability to expand. The facility will possess the capacity to produce all facets of a vehicle in the U.S., including the battery system.
VinFast and Electrification
VinFast’s move into electrification is a bold move for this relatively unknown manufacturer. But the company is receiving solid backing, including from the Vietnamese government. Vietnam, home to nearly 100 million people, is an emerging market. Although tightly regulated, the government sees a path forward for its citizens through an entity such as the Vingroup.
In particular, VinFast is designed to supply people with transportation, then share that with the world. By investing heavily in electrification, the company also avoids the expensive pivot that long-established automakers must make. That is a difference that could soon make VinFast a household name in the United States.
By Nguyễn Khánh Hưng – https://www.facebook.com/100009761041612/posts/1262935530708470/, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=94152560