VinFast, the Vietnamese electric vehicle maker, is shipping its first batch of EVs to the US a five-year effort to develop a Southeast Asian hub for the North American and European markets.
The shipment includes 999 VF 8s, an all-electric crossover with 402 horsepower, 472 pound-feet of torque, approximately 290 miles of range and a starting price of $40,700. The first cars are expected to be handed over to pre-order customers by the end of December, the company said. Some vehicles will end up with Autonomy, a car subscription service, but the majority will go to private customers.
“A proud historical milestone for the Vietnamese automotive industry”
“The export of the first 999 VF 8s is an important event for VinFast and Vingroup and a proud historical milestone for the Vietnamese automotive industry,” said Nguyen Viet Quang, Vice Chairman and CEO of Vingroup, in a press release. “It confirms that Vietnam has successfully produced high-quality electric vehicles ready to compete in the international market.”
A second batch of cars is expected to ship to the US in January. In addition to the VF 8 and VF 9, which are both SUVs, VinFast’s range of smart electric vehicles includes the VF 5, VF 6 and VF 7, all of which were designed by Pininfarina and Torino Design. The company’s lineup includes VinFast’s signature wing-shaped LED lighting signature, sculpted bodies and other styling details for a family look.
VinFast aims to eventually locate production in the U.S., with plans to start making cars at a North Carolina plant starting in 2024. By locating production, the company hopes to qualify for the US $7,500 per vehicle tax credit.
However, challenges remain. The North Carolina factory project is months behind schedule based on the company’s initial goals, and the first shipment of VinFast-built electric cars fell short of its initial goal of delivering as many as 5,000 cars to run at the plant in December by December. Haiphong are built. VinFast said the number of vehicles in its first shipment, 999, was chosen because of luck in Vietnam.