Have you heard of VinFast? If not, this is your chance to learn about the Vietnamese carmaker that could become a globally known name very soon.
Right from the start, those behind VinFast had a plan. Even though this company only started in 2017, it’s already nearing the completion of Phase 3 of its larger plan, very quickly making a name for itself along the way. No, this company doesn’t have anything to do with Vehicle Identification Numbers. VinFast is a Vietnamese car company that’s focused on producing vehicles, not just in Vietnam, but in Asia and all around the globe. We first told you about VinFast in our New York Auto Show 2022 recap after the company generated a lot of buzz. This new Asian auto brand has big ideas and lofty goals, and, so far, they are accomplishing them.
Vietnam isn’t known on the world stage as an automobile manufacturer, but that could change with VinFast, the first Vietnamese car brand to expand into other markets. VinFast, a member of the Vingroup conglomerate, is still a relatively new venture. It was only in September 2017 that ground was broken on an 828-acre industrial park.
The next year, at the Paris Motor Show, VinFast unveiled its Lux models. A partnership with GM was also announced in 2018. In 2019, VinFast launched three car models: the Lux A2.0 sedan, Lux SA2.0 SUV, and Fadil. They launched the Ludo, Impes, and Klara, three e-scooters, in Vietnam at the same time. From there VinFast launched two more e-scooters, the Theon and Feliz, in 2021. In addition to that, the company developed Vietnam’s first e-Bus.
VinFast wasted no time in expanding into other markets after starting up in 2017. The company built an auto parts distribution office in Germany in 2018. Branches were set up in Shanghai, China and Seoul, South Korea, too. By February of 2020, VinFast had an office for engineers in Port Melbourne, Australia. Long-term plans include selling VinFast vehicles in Australia.
The VF 8 and VF 9 were launched on a global scale at the 2021 Los Angeles Auto Show. In April 2022, VinFast filed for an initial public offering (IPO) with United States securities regulators to fund an estimated $4 billion expansion that includes its first U.S. factory in North Carolina. They’re apparently hoping to raise about $2 billion from the IPO. Production will start on vehicles made for North American sales starting in August 2022.
Company plans involve selling the VF 8 and VF 9 e-SUVs in the U.S. by November 2022. Canada, Germany, France, and the Netherlands are countries VinFast plans to sell their vehicles in as well. VinFast officials, which include previous Volkswagen America executive Michael Lohscheller, also have the Indonesian car market in their sights.
The vehicles VinFast make come in a dual-motor all-wheel drive (AWD) setup. The VF 8 and VF 9 are a couple of two and three-row SUVs that were engineered around advanced lithium-ion battery powertrain platforms.
The VF 8 has two trims: the Eco and the Plus. This car puts out 348 to 402 hp with 368 to 457 lb-ft of torque. The VF 8 Eco has a range of 260 miles on a full charge, and the VF 8 Plus has a range of 248 miles. The Eco has a manual rear liftgate. The Plus has a powered rear liftgate, auto-dimming mirrors, and an eight-inch second-row infotainment screen. Inside the vehicle are leatherette or leather seating surfaces.
The VF 9 is available in the same two trims: the Eco and the Plus. The range for both models is 402 hp. The range for the VF 9 Eco is 272 miles on a full charge, and the range for the VF 9 Plus is 262 miles. Other than that, the features on a VF 9 are pretty much the same. It’s, of course, got more size because it’s a full-size SUV.
So, what does all of this cost? As a mid-size SUV, the VF 8 has a $40,700 MSRP. The full-size VF 9 is being sold for $55,500. When it comes to batteries, VinFast is following the same model as your favorite streaming music or movie services. They’re offering a subscription program on their batteries. It includes free battery replacement if the battery capacity drops below 70%. This is to entice possibly hesitant buyers with the idea that a subscription program could offset expensive battery repairs or maintenance fees. The mandatory subscription is expected to cost between $110 and $160 a month.
As quickly as they developed dual-motor vehicles, VinFast committed to making fully electric vehicles. VinFast officials announced that they’ll stop building vehicles with internal-combustion engines by the end of 2022. Their vehicles will be fully electric SUVs, starting with 2023 VF 8 and VF 9 models. Companies like Polestar, Tesla, and Audi, with the Audi e-tron, are some of those leading the way on electric vehicles, but VinFast seems eager to join the competition. The VF 8 and VF 9 haven’t been released yet, so they didn’t make our list of the best electric vehicles to buy in 2022, but these two SUVs could be joining the likes of the Kia EV6, Polestar 3, and Rivian R1T very soon.
Not only are there Phase 3 plans to launch global showrooms in North America and Europe by the end of 2022, but VinFast executives are looking to have batteries being made in North Carolina by 2023. Those batteries will be used in VinFast vehicles sold in the United States.
Since the VF 8 and VF 9 are going all-electric, there are some design changes coming, too. With no need for a combustion engine, designers have been given the go ahead to make some alterations to the interior of the VinFast vehicles.
Along with offering battery leasing options, VinFast has several different battery options. There is a standard 260-mile battery. There are plans for a longer-range battery, too. Yet another battery (with an even longer range of approximately 340 miles) could be added by the end of 2023.
It’s hard to say how far VinFast can go, but so far, the company is executing on its vision. If VinFast gets the right executives, has a steady supply of funding, and produces quality vehicles that consumers are satisfied with, this could be the next major auto brand you’re sharing the road with.