The Vietnamese automaker needs foreign markets to succeed.
You may not have taken VinFast very seriously when we first told you about it back in October 2018. It had then just presented its first cars at the Paris Motor Show. On May 28, Reuters informed that the company not only is selling vehicles in its home market: It also intends to sell its first EV in the American market.
The new EV can be seen in the video above. Designed by Pininfarina – like almost all the other cars from VinFast – it is still under development. The company plans to start producing it in July 2021. Before that, the company expects to be able to make its world premiere at the Los Angeles Auto Show in November 2020. The COVID-19 pandemic will probably prevent that.
The EV did not have its name released. Currently, VinFast sells the LUX A 2.0 (a sedan), the LUX SA 2.0 (an SUV), and the Fadil, a rebadged Opel Karl. The company has hired many former Holden employees and set an engineering office in Melbourne, which will probably help get the EV on the streets as soon as possible. The office in Australia also places that market as a target for the Vietnamese automaker.
Controlled by Vietnam’s largest conglomerate – Vingroup JSC – the EV will have its battery pack supplied by LG Chem. It promises to give the VinFast EV a range of 500 km (311 mi), probably under the WLTP cycle.
Gallery: First Vietnamese Car In The US May Be The VinFast EV
According to AutoDaily.vn, its most powerful version will offer 300 kW (402 hp). In terms of size, it would be slightly smaller than a model from the C-segment – compact cars in the US. That would place it as a competitor to the Kona Electric. Just like the Hyundai crossover, the EV will probably also have a gas-powered version, using a BMW engine.
Previously promised for 2019, the VinFast EV is not exactly on schedule, but that is not new in the electric car world. At least it is serious business: Pham Nhat Vuong – the founder and controller of Vingroup JSC – has allegedly invested $2 billion to make sure he could start selling his EV in the US by 2021.
That’s a natural movement. Although it sold 5,124 cars in Vietnam in the first quarter of 2020, that is far from enough to pay for the substantial investments made in car manufacturing. If VinFast wants to succeed, it needs to export, just like Kia and Hyundai did in South Korea. Conquering the US market is typically the first step for any carmaker to succeed.