- Vietnamese automaker VinFast is setting up US HQ in LA and is also shopping for a factory site.
- VinFast is the auto manufacturing subsidiary of Vingroup, the largest conglomerate in Vietnam.
- VinFast has not disclosed prices in the US, but it’s selling a smaller EV in Vietnam for $30,500.
Vietnam carmaker VinFast has entered the US with its answer to Tesla, unveiling two full battery-electric SUV models at the Los Angeles Auto Show.
VinFast is the car subsidiary of VinGroup, the largest conglomerate in Vietnam helmed by the country’s richest man, Pham Nhat Vuong.
It’s introducing the VF e35 midsize and VF e36 large electric SUVs to the US, where it plans to start taking orders in the first half of next year and start delivery in the fourth quarter, VinFast said in a press release.
The VF e35 will have a maximum range of 310 miles per charge, and the e36 will be able to travel up to 422 miles per charge, VinFast global CEO Michael Lohscheller told the Associated Press. Teslas get between 262 and 405 miles per charge, depending on the model, according to SolarReviews.com.
VinFast has not revealed prices for the e35 and e36 vehicles, with Lohscheller told CNN it’s “a little too early to talk about” the pricing for the US market, but it wants to offer “world-class product quality, reasonable prices, and then really good service.”
In Vietnam, the VF e34 SUV — a smaller model — is listed on VinFast’s website for 690 million dong ($30,500.) Teslas start at around $47,000 and top out at around $250,000 (for its yet-to-be-released Roadster), according to Motor Trends.
The SUVs will initially be built at a factory in Vietnam, but the carmaker is planning US production in the second half of 2014, AP reported. The company is now shopping for a site.
VinFast will sell only EVs in the US where it faces stiff competition not just from market leader Tesla, but also start-ups like Rivian and Lucid — although these new names making it into the mainstream could also help VinFast, Stephanie Brinley, IHS Markit auto industry analyst, told CNN.
“Our branding position here in the US is inclusive,” said Nguyen Van Anh, CEO of VinFast US, per CNN. “We want to provide a premium product at a reasonable price.”