VinFast's initial electric car sales in the United States remain relatively low, especially considering the market valuation of the Vietnamese manufacturer.
The company recently debuted on the Nasdaq, making a pretty big splash with a valuation of $85 billion - higher than Ford or General Motors, but its VF 8 model noted just a few hundred sales in the US during the first half of the year.
According to the registration data from Experian (via Automotive News), by the end of June, only 151 units were registered in the country. Interestingly, the number of new registrations in June amounted to 23 and was lower than in April and May.
VinFast VF 8 registrations, according to Experian:
- February: 1
- March: 16
- April: 66
- May: 45
- June: 23
- Total in H1 2023: 151
Automotive News reports that VinFast's spokesperson mentioned around 350 sales as of mid-July, which suggests that we should see an increase in registrations in the following months. Registrations usually lag by a few weeks behind sales/customer deliveries.
Anyway, the results of not very high registrations are quite contrasting compared to a very high valuation. Investors are probably also realizing this and becoming more cautious, as the shares went down by a third to $20 on Thursday and on Friday are just above $13.
VinFast definitely has a chance for a successful launch, but it will require addressing the issues mentioned in the first reviews. The initial version of the car with so-so range (especially for the battery size) and a recall related to the screen does not help.
Besides the VF 8, VinFast would like to introduce in the US also other models - larger VF 9 and smaller VF 7, as well as produce the cars locally. A new assembly plant will be built in North Carolina and start production in 2025.
Meanwhile, VinFast is exploring how to sell the cars and hinting at the addition of dealers, on top of its own stores (122 opened globally, mostly in the US). It will be a hybrid sales model it seems.
Reuters recently reported that VinFast already shipped nearly 3,000 vehicles to North America - an effective distribution model is then highly needed.