Vietnamese automaker VinFast has delivered its first batch of 45 electric vehicles (EVs) to customers in California, marking its foray into the US market. The company, a subsidiary of Vingroup JSC, shipped 999 cars to California in November 2021 but faced more than two months of delays in preparing them for delivery.
VinFast has been looking to compete with established carmakers at a time when major automakers, led by Tesla, are driving prices down and introducing a range of new EVs to the market.
It was not all smooth and silent as EVs
VinFast faced anger and frustration from early reservation holders when it said the initial shipment of VF8 cars would have a lower battery range than the company had advertised. It also dropped an option for consumers to rent the EV battery, a plan it had advertised as a way to bring down the cost of ownership.
The company responded to the criticism by rebranding the vehicle to the VF8 City Edition Eco, which has an EPA-estimated battery range of 207 miles (333 km). The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has not yet provided a safety rating for the vehicle.
Lower prices can cover lower performance
Last week, VinFast slashed the lease price on the VF8 electric crossover by 50%, making it more affordable for customers.
The company has also been certified for a subsidy of up to $7,500 per vehicle under President Joe Biden’s incentive program, payable to the finance company, according to the U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) website.
VinFast will expand the construction of EVs
VinFast has been waiting for final regulatory approval to begin construction of a $4 billion plant in North Carolina, as it seeks to expand its operations in the US. Vehicle subscription service Autonomy has a deal to purchase 2,500 vehicles from VinFast, but it is not clear when it will take delivery.
The company is entering a crowded and competitive US EV market, which is dominated by established carmakers such as Tesla, as well as startups such as Lucid, Rivian, and Nikola. These companies have faced pressure from lower orders, higher interest rates, and increased competition.
Are the customers of Vietnamese EVs happy?
Customers who took delivery of the VF8 praised the vehicle’s features and design. James and Nicole Wang, who reserved a VF8 earlier this year, said they were early adopters who liked to try out new things.
Meanwhile, Andrew and Nikki Le, who ordered 11 VinFast cars, said they had toured the VinFast factory in Haiphong, Vietnam, in May as part of a promotion by the company. Insurers including State Farm, Allstate, and Progressive will provide policies for the VF8, according to VinFast.
VinFast’s entry into the US market is a significant milestone for the Vietnamese automaker, which is looking to expand its operations globally. True, the company faces stiff competition in a crowded market. But its decision to slash the lease price of the VF8 could make it more attractive to customers.
The success of VinFast’s US operations will depend on its ability to produce high-quality vehicles and provide excellent customer service.