It’s getting harder to keep track of all of the new automakers hitting the market with their EVs. But one stands out because it is headquartered not in China, but in Vietnam. It’s called VinFast, and it is readying 60 new showrooms in the US for its new EV.
Beginning in 2022 VinFast will begin taking pre-orders for its VF e35 and e36 electric vehicles according to Reuters. Vinfast, its American arm headquartered in California, looks to 2022 for delivering its first models in America and also for opening the showrooms. Global CEO Michael Lohscheller expects that most sales will come from online ordering.
The VinFast utility vehicles make their US debut next month
We’ll get a chance to see the two electric utility vehicles when they premiere at the LA Auto Show next month. They are already in production, with deliveries in Vietnam to begin in December. It is also expected to launch the new models in Europe later in 2022.
VinFast is a subsidiary of Vingroup, a conglomerate that started in 2017 by selling noodles in post-Soviet Ukraine. It is heavy into real estate, resorts, schools, hospitals, and smartphones. So there is plenty of horsepower backing VinFast.
VinFast will only lease its batteries which is expected to help keep prices lower
One wrinkle is that its batteries will only be leased to owners. That means that the battery price is not reflected in the purchase price. This arrangement is expected to be a selling factor. It has already gotten 25,000 pre-orders with a price of $29,000 in the US.
The CEO told Reuters that it is eyeing manufacturing in the US at some point. It is also looking to enter the stock exchange. “VinFast has a plan for an IPO in the U.S., but specific timing will depend on the market and other conditions,” Lohscheller said. “We will reveal more information at an appropriate time in the future.”
Some are doubting the viability of a global VinFast assault. But Lohscheller is a seasoned executive that comes from Volkswagen and Opel. He’s been in the position since being named CEO in July.
Giugiaro and Pininfarina have had a hand in the VinFast designs
Italian design house Giugiaro initially penned the designs for a sedan and crossover. Then the sweetening was handled by Pininfarina. And BMW was involved in a powertrain swap back in 2018. It is unclear whether it is still involved with VinFast.
In all, it’s an ambitious program. Who would have thought Tesla would amount to much? With the financial backing of Vingroup, manufacturing already underway, and vehicles that look to be as competitive as anything else on the market today, it could just become a player.
It anticipates beating the competition on a combo of quality and price. It’s hard to judge right now until we get a chance to see and drive them. But competition is good, and VinFast is beginning to become just that.