Another EV Maker Joins the American Auto Landscape: Meet VinFast

Vietnamese automaker VinFast has grand plans to expand into the U.S. market in 2022. What gives VinFast, which has pledged to phase out gas vehicles, an edge?
Written by Alex Reale
Reviewed by Kathleen Flear
Mar 9, 2022
A VinFast office building
Automakers are capitalizing on the
electric current
of the 2020s. As consumers turn increasingly toward
electric vehicles
, the landscape grows ever more crowded, and one Vietnamese company is looking to join the fray. 
Read on to learn about VinFast, which has big plans to sell electric vehicles in the U.S. in 2022.   

Big plans

VinFast announced some ambitious plans at the start of 2022, reports
KBB
. The Vietnamese automaker came out with guns blazing at the famed Las Vegas consumer electronics show CES, wowing attendees with five new vehicles and a pledge to get out of the gas business entirely. 
The young automaker first entered the market with only two vehicles to present, a sedan and an SUV, but it already has offices throughout the world. KBB notes that this is a clear sign that VinFast intends to expand past its native Vietnam with gusto. 

But what is VinFast?

VinFast is the auto division of VinGroup, a Vietnamese firm which is “like Amazon, only if Amazon did more of everything,” says
Green Car Reports
. 
VinGroup’s foray into automaking began in 2017, and from the outset the project had great expectations. By VinFast’s first birthday, it had already won the “A Star is Born” award at the Paris Motor Show, and by the following year it had introduced three cars and three e-scooters to the Vietnamese market. And by 2020 VinFast had best sellers in Vietnam.
Having carved out an impressive space in its homeland in a short amount of time, VinFast then set its sights abroad. In 2021, the company increased the size of two of its SUVs, the VF 8 and the VF 9, to broaden (no pun intended) their appeal in a global market. 
And a year later, VinFast was showing off its wares (designed by the lauded Italian firm Pininfarina) at American auto shows, building showrooms in Europe and North America, and taking pre-orders for U.S. customers. 

An edge in a crowded field? 

VinFast is working hard to stick to its expansion plan, but in a dizzying landscape of EVs, how can it set itself apart? The firm has a few strategies. 
KBB reports that consumers who choose a VinFast vehicle will submit to an unusual plan: the car will be theirs, but the battery will be leased from VinFast. The point of this, says the firm, is to replace aging batteries, but it is unclear what financial or other kind of benefit this would provide to customers. Perhaps they’re going for novelty. 
 And like employers who are bending over backwards to get employees to stick around in 2022, VinFast is very much on the perks train. Anyone who reserves a vehicle, for $200, gets access to a feast: thousands of dollars in vouchers for eventual purchase of the vehicle, a free charger, an NFT, and a three-week stay at one of VinGroup’s beach villas. Not too shabby for $200.
VinFast’s expansion into the U.S. is inspiring some buzz, but the question is—can the automaker pull this off? 
Green Car Reports thinks that backing from a company as large and entrenched as VinGroup may give VinFast a bit more breathing room financially. But it is also true that the automaker has set some shocking timelines for coming to market. 
It remains to be seen if 2022 will be as explosive a year as VinFast hopes it will be. If it follows any kind of
Cybertruck
trajectory, then we’ll be waiting a while longer.
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