What is VinFast? All About the New Vietnamese Automaker

VinFast VF 8 pre-production model

It is unusual when an all-new vehicle design will come alongside. It’s rarer continue to when an all-new automaker arrives, builds a manufacturing unit, and then commences setting up autos that people today really like and acquire. Rarer than that? When that new automaker is ready to endure amid recognized, perfectly-regarded competitors.

VinFast has previously succeeded in generating the to start with two of those people hurdles a truth, and that 3rd and toughest activity appears really doable from what we’ve witnessed so much into this automaker’s temporary but impressive existence.

Unless of course you are amid the earliest adopters of electric vehicle (EV) tech or a really serious automobile fanatic, you’ve almost certainly never ever even listened to of VinFast. Which is why we have designed this primer.

VinFast is a new Vietnamese automaker. VinFast recently invited Kelley Blue Reserve to its home state to see what the organization is all about, tour its factories, and listen to about its formidable programs for introducing its autos to the United States.

Let’s begin with the fundamentals.

VinFast VF 8 pre-production model

What is VinFast?

VinFast is a Vietnamese automaker that was founded in 2017. VinFast is Vietnam’s initial world automaker.

Who is powering VinFast?

Although VinFast itself is new, the upstart automaker is portion of a considerably bigger conglomerate: VinGroup. Founded in 1993 by Pham Nhat Vuong, VinGroup is a extremely big offer in Vietnam. There, its industries span from building residences and educational establishments to creating superior health care. And that is just the start out. Its items and expert services also include leisure, entertainment, and educational parts. The conglomerate not long ago created a condition-of-the-art college outdoors of Hanoi, and operates resorts with their very own amusement parks. Pham started off marketing dried noodles he is now a billionaire and Vietnam’s richest male.

Media roundtable with VinFast founder, center

Explain to me about VinFast cars and trucks:

VinFast launched its 1st automobiles in 2019 in its property nation. The motor vehicles were being centered on current styles – this kind of as an SUV and sedan applying architecture from BMWs. Now the business is speedily pivoting to electric powered motor vehicles (EVs). It programs to stop developing gasoline-powered cars this yr and only make EVs. The to start with to strike the U.S. industry are two electric SUVs: the 5-passenger VinFast VF 8 and the larger, 3-row VinFast VF 9. They are slated to get there in the U.S. all-around the finish of the year.

Where are VinFast automobiles manufactured?

VinFast builds its cars in Vietnam, at minimum for now. We had a prospect to tour VinFast’s factories, and they are in truth point out of the artwork. They are also just about manufacturer new, designed from scratch in much less than two years’ time. And its modern-day factories in Vietnam show up to be only the commencing. The firm not long ago introduced it is investing $2 billion in a manufacturing unit in North Carolina. That will empower VinFast to make autos below in America, way too.

VinFast factory in Vietnam

Why is it termed VinFast?

First off, the “Vin” naming is dependable with VinGroup in normal, which also has models these types of as VinSchool (training), VinHomes (yes, properties), VinBus (mass-transit buses), and even VinBrain (concentrating on artificial intelligence). We informed you VinGroup is large. Anyhow, the “Fast” in VinFast is essentially an acronym, and about translated its letters in Vietnamese indicate style, protection, creativeness, and groundbreaking.

Will VinFast be successful?

VinFast’s cars and trucks are already common and sought-right after in Vietnam, and are a place of satisfaction there. In the United States, VinFast’s lengthy-time period results is even now a concern mark, as it is still acquiring up and functioning. In the short term, nevertheless, VinFast appears to be a major player. The business suggests it has 55,000 reservations for its EVs worldwide, but has not given a breakdown of how a lot of of all those are from the U.S. Anecdotally, on our trip with VinFast to Vietnam, we satisfied many U.S. and Canadian buyers who have put down deposits on several VinFast cars and had been invited by the corporation as VIPs.

VinFast VF 8 pre-production test drive

Are VinFast’s autos any great?

We experienced a chance to briefly drive a very pre-output edition of the VF 8. From our constrained experience, the cars surface very well-constructed and potentially aggressive. Our check design desired further more tuning, especially with preliminary throttle software, but these are somewhat quick modulations. Also, the VF 8 and VF 9 are elegant. VinFast worked with well-known Italian design and style dwelling Pininfarina on the designs. If Pininfarina was superior enough for Ferrari, it is definitely great sufficient for this fledgling automaker.

How substantially is a VinFast?

The 2023 VinFast VF 8 will start off at $40,700, whilst the VF 9 will start out at $55,500. This is just before any possible EV tax credits or incentives these types of as the federal credit score of up to $7,500.

What is up with the VinFast battery lease?

VinFast is trying a thing new for an electric powered vehicle: It will sell you the car, but you lease the battery, at the very least for the initially model 12 months. Two battery lease designs are set to be offered: the endless mileage designs charge $110/month for the VF 8 and $160/thirty day period for the VF 9.

Potential buyers who generate fewer than about 1,000 miles per month could possibly decide to lease the battery at $35 for every thirty day period for the VF 8 or $44 for the VF 9, which covers 310 miles of array per month. Supplemental miles expense $.11 for every mile in the VF 8 and $.15 in the VF 9.

Beginning in 2024, consumers will have the choice to get the battery with the car or truck, but the company has not nonetheless outlined selling prices.

VinFast headquarters in Vietnam

In which are VinFast’s headquarters?

VinFast’s headquarters are in Haiphong, Vietnam, where by its manufacturing facility is. VinFast’s U.S. headquarters are in Los Angeles, California.

What is following for VinFast?

The subsequent few of many years will be occupied for the Vietnamese automaker. It is making ready to launch the VF 8 and VF 9 electrical SUVs, followed by smaller sized electrical SUV types like the VF 7 and VF 6, which it previewed this yr at CES.

Will VinFast and its mother or father make a lot more than just cars and trucks in the United States?

We questioned this concern instantly to its founder all through a media roundtable (by way of a translator). For the time remaining, the business will emphasis on manufacturing electric powered vehicles and partnering with firms for as-yet-named products and services for its shoppers. VinFast claims it is also functioning with car rental and leasing corporations.

Will there be VinFast dealerships?

VinFast is not utilizing the regular supplier model. Alternatively it is pursuing what other EV startups these types of as Tesla and Rivian are doing by promoting straight to buyers. What’s more, VinFast suggests its cars will be offered in all 50 states.

VinFast factory in Vietnam

What is your take on VinFast in common?

If VinFast just wished to deliver common fuel-driven vehicles to the U.S., it would be an extremely tough job. There is currently so substantially levels of competition, particularly in the bread-and-butter segments of midsize SUVs. But VinFast will only be creating electric vehicles for sale in the U.S., and whilst a lot more and a lot more EVs are showing up or planned every day, it’s nevertheless a segment that is ripe with potential. We will need only appear at Tesla as Show A. In about a ten years it went from startup to remaining the best-marketing luxury automaker in The usa.

A much more the latest case in point is Rivian, which sprung up to conquer classic models these as Ford and Chevy to the punch by introducing its electric powered truck to market place to start with. If the VinFast VF 9 were being on the highway nowadays, it would be the to start with mainstream 3-row electrical SUV. Dependent how things shake out, it might just even now be when it arrives all around the end of this calendar year or early subsequent yr (correct timing is however TBA).

In typical, if VinFast can move rapidly and uncover sound footing, it has a probability to build alone as a player among mainstream electric motor vehicles – that is, EVs that each day consumers can manage, not just those with the deep pockets desired for luxurious EVs.

It’s a tough match, for guaranteed, and automaking in normal is not for the weak or small-funded. For each Tesla or even Lucid, there are several manufacturers that have unsuccessful or just teeter on the brink of bringing electrified vehicles to life, touting grandiose designs but in no way producing them happen.

From what we have individually noticed of VinFast, it is a company that moves lightning fast and is backed by very deep pockets. In this electrified era, both of those are a necessity, not an choice. Toss in the simple fact that the cars look trendy and have approachable prices, and VinFast could have a chance. As they say: Stay tuned.

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