VinFast's bid to attract US buyers includes 4 all-electric SUVs and perhaps a sports car

VinFast showed off four battery-electric SUVs at the Los Angeles Auto Show this week and even hinted at a sports car as the Vietnam-based automaker moves forward with its plan to break into the US market.

The four EVs, which ranged in size from small five-passenger crossovers to large seven-passenger SUVs, are part of the company’s efforts to resonate with consumers in the US. In an EV market that almost every automaker is now entering, it may take more than just an SUV offering. Although choice is part of the plan, according to Craig Westbrook, chief service officer of VinFast US

VinFast’s plan is to flood the space with a lot of options so that Americans become familiar with the new brand, Westbrook told TechCrunch. The CEO also hinted that VinFast may unveil a sports car for the US market at this time next year.

“We need a product offensive,” Westbrook said in an interview at the LA Auto Show. “We have to go to market strong. We don’t need to sneak in or ease the models and purchasing options for the few. So within probably less than a 12-month period, you’ll have all four models, all SUVs in those four main size and price segments.”

VinFast expects to launch two SUVs, the VF6 and VF7, by early 2023.

VinFast SUVs

vinfast vf6

VinFast VF6. Image Credits: Kirsten Korosets

VinFast showed the VF6, VF7, VF8 and VF9 at the Los Angeles Auto Show and offered a five-passenger VF8 ride outside the convention center. Unlike last year’s auto show, where the company showed the VFe36 and VFe35 global vehicles without interiors, the VF6 and VF7 had interiors that customers and media could check out to get a feel for what the new U.S. company could deliver.

In the two short laps around the small test track outside the LA Convention Center, the VF8 felt like any other EV crossover—the weight of the battery, which VinFast estimates will provide up to 292 miles of range, was evident, especially over bumpy bumps. The vegan leather interior and large central screen make the interior luxurious and surprisingly spacious. The large bi-fold roof makes the back seat spacious and open, and the ride in the back is just as inviting.

Westbrook said the VF8 and VF9 cars are currently on their way to the U.S. 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 has no specific breakdown for North America during our interview.

Most of those orders are coming to California, according to Westbrook, and the customers, Westbrook has observed, are mostly those making the EV-jump for the first time.

California focused

“Most of the pre-orders are done here [California]Westbrook said. “California is easy. Here is the headquarters and the port, so we will serve those customers first. Obviously we want to look at all our customers, but this will be the first way we can try to enter the market as effectively as possible.”

VinFast currently has six retail locations open in California, all located in shopping centers where people can walk in and check out the vehicles, similar to a Tesla store. Westbrook says some of the first vehicles coming off the boat from Vietnam will go to stores so more potential customers can get in the vehicles and test drive them.

Westbrook said many reservation holders haven’t reached the point in the purchase journey where they have to decide whether to opt for the company’s somewhat controversial battery lease program or buy their vehicle outright. Asked about the reception reservation holders have had to the battery lease option, Westbrook said, “We’ve seen sort of a growing acceptance and interest in the option.”

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

New warranty and service options

VinFast’s goal is to make the transition to electric batteries as seamless as possible for new customers, Westbrook said. And to that end, the company has announced more details about its bumper-to-bumper warranty, offering an industry-leading 10 years and 125,000 miles of coverage and a 10-year unlimited battery warranty, which the company says is designed to offer EV customers peace of mind while switch to electric driving.

The company also announced a mobile service that will come to customers or offer ride-sharing options if customers are 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 workshop is there, you may not want to come to us. So we can help you, right? And that’s part of our model. He is not forced into anything. We realize that’s what you want as a customer.”

Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *