Vietnamese EV brand VinFast on Wednesday delivered its first vehicles in the U.S.
A total 45 examples of the VF 8 mid-size electric SUV were delivered to customers across nine stores in California. Additional examples will be delivered over the coming days via a home-delivery service that VinFast operates.
The vehicles are part of an initial batch of 999 VF 8s that arrived at a port in California last December. They were originally due to be delivered before the end of 2022.
VinFast said it has more than 65,000 orders from customers outside of Vietnam. Exports to other markets, including Canada and Europe, are scheduled to begin later in 2023. That's also when VinFast will start exports of its VF 9 full-size electric SUV.
Vinfast VF 8
VinFast's inroads into the U.S. market have been remarkably fast. It was only in 2018 that the company unveiled its first vehicle, essentially a reskinned BMW 5-Series, but less than five years later it has already made the switch to electric vehicles, and the new VF 8 arrives in the U.S. at a time of surging interest for electric SUVs and crossovers.
The VF 8 is priced from $60,200 and the VF 9 from $84,200, both including a $1,200 destination fee. The company plans to offer a battery subscription option at a later date, which will lower the price but require owners to sign up for a subscription. The company has previously said the subscription would last the life of the vehicle.
Vinfast VF 9
The VF 8 is offered in Eco and Plus grades, delivering 348 and 402 hp, respectively. The VF 9 is offered exclusively with 402 hp. In the case of the VF 8, the Eco grade is rated by the EPA at 207 miles of range and the Plus at 191 miles.
Beyond the VF 8 and VF 9, VinFast plans to add smaller VF 5, VF 6, and VF 7 crossovers. All five vehicles were presented together for the first time at the 2022 CES in Las Vegas.
Vinfast at the 2022 Consumer Electronics Show
VinFast's main plant is located in Hai Phong, Vietnam, though the company last year announced plans for a plant in Chatham County, North Carolina. The U.S. plant, which is scheduled to come online in 2024 with an initial annual capacity of 150,000 vehicles, will be used for both vehicle and battery production. The first vehicles will be the VF 8 and VF 9, and the local production will make the vehicles eligible for government tax credits. VinFast also plans to go public via an IPO.
Unlike other new companies promising to bring EVs to the market, VinFast has deep pockets. It's part of Vietnamese conglomerate Vingroup, which specializes in construction and real estate development but is also involved in agriculture, healthcare, retail, tourism, and numerous other sectors. Vingroup founder Pham Nhat Vuong pledged $2 billion of his own fortune to make VinFast a globally recognized company.