Vietnamese EV maker VinFast has announced a new CEO at the helm, and an aggressive new strategy to expand globally while gaining a foothold in the US. In addition to announcing plans for a $2 billion in factory in India, it just announced a fresh crop of dealership openings in the US, with plans to expand the network to 125 points of sale across the country.
After opening up its first dealership in North Carolina at the end of December, VinFast has announced partnerships with five dealers in four states. VinFast vehicles are sold at Leith VinFast in North Carolina; Smith Haven VinFast in New York; Principle VinFast Grapevine in Texas; Hiley VinFast of Fort Worth, Texas; and VinFast Wichita, in Kansas. For now, customers can drive off with a VinFast VF8, with the VF 6, VF 7, and VF 9 models available as soon as they launch in the US.
VinFast is also building its $4 billion EV factory in Chatham County, North Carolina. North Carolina’s VinFast manufacturing plant is expected to produce as many as 150,000 vehicles annually after it is completed in 2025.
VinFast targets US market with new dealerships in more states
After a lackluster and delayed launch of its VF 8 model in the US, the company decided to put some new plans in place. It has been switching up its distribution model, which was previously based on Tesla’s direct-to-consumer model, to what it calls a “hybrid” model that includes dealers.
“This is an important step affirming VinFasts commitment to expanding its retail sales network and shortening the time to deliver our products to market,” said Tran Mai Hoa, deputy CEO of sales and marketing. She added: “Collaboration with dealers allows VinFast to quickly bring US customers high-quality electric vehicles, good price and excellent aftersales policies, further promoting our mission of a sustainable future for all.”
VinFast has also appointed Pham Nhat Vuong, founder and chairman of parent group Vingroup Joint Stock Company, as its new CEO, and its fourth since the company’s founding. Current CEO Le Thi Thu Thuy will become head of the board of directors, according to a statement from VinFast.
The company has also announced plans to build a $2 billion factory in India, set to begin this year. It also plans to build a manufacturing plant in Indonesia.
In its home country, VinFast has recently launched a $20,000 electric minicar called the VF 3, and Electrek has reported that the company is considering bringing it to the US, alongside the VF 8 and high-end VF9, which it already sells stateside in small batches. The 2024 VF 8 starts at about $47K and goes up to about $53K depending on trim and options, with the Eco model offering the highest range at 264 miles per charge.
VinFast has made its mark on its home turf in Vietnam, but in the US, it’s been a major underdog. Timing hasn’t been in its favor either, since it’s arriving at a time of intense EV pricing pressure coming from heavy hitters like Tesla. And while the company has huge global ambitions, sales volumes have been small – so it has a lot to prove. In California, where the company has some 13 retail spaces across the state, data from Experian showed only 237 units had been registered through September. Still, this new plan, and the potential of bringing a version of its low-cost VF 3 to the US, could turn the tide. VinFast says it expects to sell 750,00 vehicles a year globally by 2026.
Author: Jennifer Mossalgue