Vinfast lays foundations for US distribution
Contracts announced with slew of dealers as Vietnamese firm eyes global rollout
Vietnam’s Vinfast has secured deals with 70 dealers for EV distribution in the US. The firm is laying the groundwork for a US expansion, which has seen it add 8,000 US chargepoints and enter “ongoing dialogue on potential NACS adoption”.
“In 2023, Vinfast expects to distribute VF 8 models through its distribution network, and will continue its offerings with the VF 9, VF 6 and VF 7 when these models launch in the market,” the company says.
And it also expects to secure deals with significantly more dealers in the near future, saying that “updates on dealer agreements are expected to be announced in the coming months, which should allow Vinfast to start distributing its EVs through 125 points of sales nationwide”.
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Ultimately, including the company’s existing US showrooms, Vinfast “is planning to distribute its EV models at hundreds of points of sales by the end of 2024”.
“Our mission is to make EVs accessible to everyone. That is why Vinfast always strives to expand its business network, and to provide consumers with premium quality electric vehicles, attainable prices, and outstanding aftersales services. Cooperating with dealers will help us shorten the time to bring products to market and to quickly meet the needs of U.S. customers," says Steve Tran, North American CEO of Vinfast.
And it is not just in the US in the sights of the Vietnamese manufacturer, as the company is targeting a global ramp-up. The speed and scale of the plans, however, continue to elicit scepticism from many in the industry, particularly after its record-breaking market capitalisation upon listing on Nasdaq quickly deflated.
But, following, an effective gifting of its sister company, battery firm Vin ES, to the automaker by the chairman of its conglomerate Vingroup, Vinfast can now boast of vertical integrated production, which has some analysts bullish.
“Vinfast benefits from more affordably priced EVs, vertical integration, and manufacturing in Vietnam that is expected to result in fewer supply chain disruptions. In addition, the significant financial and brand backing of Vingroup is seen as a positive,” says analyst and journalist Clark Schultz.
But before aiming addressing its target of 50 global auto markets, the immediate acid test for Vinfast is how well it can sell its EVs in the US. And a sub $30,000 B or C section EV might be the key to cracking the nut, such as the VF 6 which launched at the end of the third quarter in its home Vietnamese market at a starting price of $28,000.