Would You Buy a Mini VF3 EV for $13,500? VinFast Is Looking to Make It in the U.S.
VinFast hasn’t had an easy run in the U.S. Being the first and only Vietnamese-made EV sold in America, it has stumbled with direct-to-customer sales that didn’t work and models that weren’t ready for prime time. But now it is setting up dealerships and continues to make plans for the U.S. It says it is “researching the demand and potential for the VF3 model in the U.S., following the positive responses from our dealers. Further details will be announced in due course.”
OK, then. So why is it putting so much effort into introducing its VF3 here? Because it is a $13,500 EV. And many automakers, which have chosen to bring out expensive EVs first, now realize that U.S. buyers don’t want to pay a premium for electrification. They want cheap, affordable EV transportation.
How small is the VinFast VF3?
That could mean VinFast can hit this sweet spot with its small VF3. And when we say “small,” we mean it. For comparison, Toyota’s smallest vehicle, the Aygo X, has an overall length of 147 inches. That may be one reason why Toyota doesn’t sell it here, with America’s aversion to small, small cars.
The VF3 comes in at 122.5 inches. Unfortunately, though an inexpensive EV sounds like a winner, maybe not for something this small. But from dealer input, VinFast says they’re anxious to see it come here, according to Automotive News.
Is the VinFast VF3 eligible for the U.S. EV tax credit?
Roughly 100 potential dealers were part of a survey. “They liked the whole lineup, but the VF3, I would say, got an almost 100 percent response,” says an anonymous adviser. “They really liked the VF3, and the reason is it’s probably sub-$20,000.”
To qualify for the U.S. EV tax credit, besides being built at VinFast’s new North Carolina assembly plant, it needs American-sourced batteries. Should that happen, the final price buyers could pay might be really cheap. But can it overcome its small size? This thing is over two feet shorter than a Mazda Miata.
VinFast is already selling vehicles here, with its North Carolina plant about ready to open. So, it has more than just its foot in the door for a selling and distribution perspective. That’s worth a lot because it is not just a concept without any skin in the game.
What else does VinFast sell in the U.S.?
But with enthusiastic dealers, who knows what might happen? It looks like a fun, chunky little buggy and may look larger in person. And VinFast says it seats five people, so it’s not just a commuter car.
VinFast already sells several SUV EVs, including the VF6, VF7, VF8, and VF9. The largest, the VF9, has an MSRP of $83,000. Probably for the foreseeable future, the VF6 is its entry model. But VinFast has the backing, is working out U.S. distribution, and is building cars. How long did it take for other EV startups to get to this stage?