Vietnam's Vinfast only started selling cars in its home market in 2019 but the company is already eying exports of electric vehicles to the key markets of North America and Europe.
In the case of North America, Vinfast said in January that it plans to start sales in the United States and Canada as early as 2022. The first models to arrive will be the VFe35 small crossover and VFe36 mid-size crossover.
For the U.S., Vinfast has established the local division Vinfast USA headed by Van Anh Nguyen, and plans to open the first dealerships in California “soon,” Vinfast parent company Vingroup said in a statement to Reuters published on Monday.
Vinfast has hinted that it will sell cars online and offer its EVs with a battery subscription, helping to bring the up-front cost of the vehicle down considerably. The battery subscription model has already been implemented by Nio in China.
Vinfast only sold about 30,000 vehicles last year, most of them with internal-combustion engines. The company is only targeting about 15,000 EV sales for 2022, though this is a capped figure due to the global chip shortage, Pham Nhat Vuong, chairman of Vingroup, said at the company's annual meeting in June.
Production of Vinfast vehicles is handled at a plant in Hai Phong, Vietnam.
The VFe36 is likely to be the best bet for our market. It has a length of 201 inches and a dual-motor powertrain generating a combined 402 hp. The battery is a 106-kilowatt-hour unit that Vinfast estimates will deliver over 300 miles of range. Premium features include a 15.4-inch infotainment screen, panoramic glass roof, and matrix LED headlights.
Vinfast will need to raise cash to fund its ambitious growth plans. The company has hinted that it may launch an initial public offering in the U.S. or go public via a SPAC deal.