VinFast’s offer to attract US buyers includes 4 all-electric SUVs and maybe a sports car • TechCrunch

VinFast displayed four battery-electric SUVs at the Los Angeles Auto Show this week, and even hinted at a sports car, as the Vietnam-based automaker presses ahead with its plan to enter the US market.

The four EVs, which range in size from small five-passenger crossovers to large seven-passenger SUVs, are part of the company’s effort to resonate with American consumers. In a market for electric vehicles in which almost every automaker now participates, it may be necessary to do more than just offer SUVs. Choice is part of the plan though, according to Craig Westbrook, Director of Service for VinFast US

VinFast’s plan is to flood the space with plenty of options to get Americans familiar with the new brand, Westbrook told TechCrunch. The executive also hinted that by this time next year, VinFast might show off a sports car for the US market.

“We need a product offensive,” Westbrook said in an interview at the Los Angeles Auto Show. “We need to hit the market with force. We don’t need to filter or smooth the models and buying opportunities for a few. So, probably within a period of less than 12 months, you’ll have all four models, all the SUVs in these four main size and price segments.”

VinFast expects to bring two SUVs, the VF6 and VF7, to the market in early 2023.

The VinFast SUVs

vinfast vf6

VinFast VF6. Image Credits: Kirsten Korosec

VinFast displayed the VF6, VF7, VF8 and VF9 at the Los Angeles Auto Show and offered five-passenger rides in the VF8 outside the convention center. Unlike last year’s auto show, where the company showcased global vehicles, the VFe36 and VFe35 without interiors, the VF6 and VF7 had interiors that customers and the media could poke around to get an idea of ​​what it might be like. the new company in the US deliver.

In the two short laps around the small test track in front of the Los Angeles Convention Center, the VF8 felt like any other EV crossover: the weight of the battery pack, which VinFast estimates will have a range of up to 292 miles, it is evident, especially on uneven bumps. The vegan leather interior and large center screen make the interior feel luxurious and surprisingly spacious. A large dual-pane roof makes the rear seat feel spacious and open, and the ride in the rear is equally attractive.

Westbrook said the VF8 and VF9 vehicles are currently on their way to the US and should be delivered to buyers in early 2023. Globally, VinFast says it has taken 65,000 reservations for the VF8 and VF9, but the company did not have a specific breakdown. for North America at the time of our interview.

Most of those orders come to California, according to Westbrook, and the customers, Westbrook’s observation, are mostly those taking the first EV leap.

california centric

“Most of the pre-orders have taken place here. [California]Westbrook said. “California is easy. This is where the headquarters are and where a port is, so we’re going to serve these customers first. Obviously we want to look at all of our customers, but that will be the first way that we can try to enter the market as effectively as possible.”

VinFast currently has six retail stores open in California, all located in shopping centers where people can walk in and view the vehicles, such as a Tesla store. Westbrook says that some of the first vehicles to come off the ship from Vietnam will go to stores so more potential customers can jump in the vehicles and test drive them.

Westbrook said many of the reserve holders haven’t reached the point in the buying journey where they have to decide between opting for the company’s controversial battery leasing program or buying their vehicle outright. Asked about the reception of the battery lease option by reserve holders, Westbrook said: “We’ve seen kind of a growing acceptance and interest in the option.”

During the presentation at the Los Angeles Auto Show, Westbrook noted that VinFast recently received an order for 2,500 vehicles from auto subscription company Autonomy, which typically deals only with Teslas.

New warranty and service options

VinFast’s goal is to make the transition to battery electric as barrier-free as possible for new customers, Westbrook said. And to that end, the company announced more details of its full warranty, which offers industry-leading 10-year, 125,000-mile coverage and a 10-year, unlimited-mile battery warranty that the company says is designed to deliver peace of mind for electric vehicle customers as they transition to electric driving.

The company also announced a mobile service that will reach out to customers or offer ride-sharing options if customers get stranded.

“I would say when it comes to quality, people have expectations and we have to meet them,” Westbrook said. “We understand that when you buy a car here and our service point is there, you may not want to come to us. So we can help you, right? And that’s part of our model. It is not being forced into something. We realize that’s what you want as a customer.”

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