Vietnamese EV Startup Says More Models Coming to America

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky
vietnamese ev startup says more models coming to america

VinFast, the Vietnamese automotive startup that showcased five electric vehicles at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES), has said it’ll be expanding the lineup planned for North America. With midsize offerings already slated for export, the company used the Los Angeles Auto Show to show off the subcompact VF6 and compact VF7 – adding that it’ll also be shipping those units our way for the 2024 model year.

There’s been a lot of speculation about how realistic it is for VinFast to sell in the United States. We’ve certainly been skeptical in the past and not much has changed since. Years of seeing Chinese startups appearing at trade shows only to have those nameplates disappear will do that to you. But VinFast thinks it can start small and then branch out as EV adoption becomes more commonplace (or mandatory) across the country.

“The opening of the first six VinFast Stores in the US marks an important milestone in the company’s global journey, as we move toward bringing premium products and services to American consumers. I believe that introducing VinFast and interacting with customers one-on-one in our corporate-owned and operated stores is the best way to build relationships with customers and to ensure quality service,” Madam Le Thi Thu Thuy, Vingroup Vice Chairwoman and VinFast Global CEO, said in July. “We are proud to drive the global EV revolution towards a sustainable future. This future officially takes its next step today in California and will soon expand across the US and globally.”

VinFast’s opening salvo comes by way of the two-row VF8 and three-row VF9 crossovers we’ve covered in the past. That means the smaller VF6 and VF7 will be its second wave, though there doesn’t appear to be a firm timeline established beyond the model year. The company has only stated that it plans on having comprehensive sales and service centers by the end of 2023 to coincide with product launches. It also suggested that the vehicles would be accompanied by a warranty that lasts 10 years or 125,000 miles – whichever comes first.

Dimensionally, the VF6 is about the same size as a Nissan Kicks, putting it on the more diminutive end of the subcompact category. It’s just a hair under 170 inches long, with a 72-inch width and a roof height of 62.8 inches. It’s svelte for a modern crossover. But similar dimensions have served the Kicks well enough to be a commendable city car, even if it wouldn’t be anybody’s first pick for long-distance drives.

The Vietnamese vehicle appears to have a nicely appointed interior. Though it’s taken a minimalist approach akin to Tesla that not everyone will appreciate. The prominent central touch screen does most of the heavy lifting with the steering wheel appearing to have more buttons than the rest of the cabin. It certainly looks modern but we’ve found relying too much on touch-based interfaces to be a misstep most of the time.

At any rate, the model does offer a heads up display to help keep your eyes where they belong whilst driving. It’s also supposed to come with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and the Amazon Alexa voice-assistant. Though if you’re not interested in having the latter item inside your home, there’s probably no way you’re going to want it inside your car.

VinFast said the VF6 will only come with a single electric motor mounted on the front axle, making it front-wheel drive. Eco models will produce 174 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of instantaneous electric torque,with Plus editions allegedly good for 201 ponies, 228 pound-feet, and a panoramic moonroof to boot. Battery options are TBD, as is the car’s estimated range. However the manufacturer has said there should be several options to choose between, with each offering different charging and storage capacities.

Slightly larger is the VF7. At 178.9 inches in length, 74.4 inches in width, and 64.4 inches tall, it’s again slightly smaller than what would be average for the compact crossover segment. But the footprint for where the rubber meets the road is a little better than some of its rivals thanks to decent girth and short overhangs. Visually similar to its little brother, the VF7 offers a lot of flowing bodywork with just enough creases to keep things interesting. It’s attractive, even if it doesn’t exactly shout originality. If you had told me this was a new product from Renault, I likely wouldn’t have argued with you were it not for the prominent V-themed lighting scheme at the front.

Unlike the VF6, the VF7 can be had with dual motors – allowing for more oomph and all-wheel drive. Eco models are said to deliver 201 horsepower and 228 pound-feet of torque to the front wheels, whereas the two-motor Plus makes 349 horses and 368 pound-feet. Sadly, no information was given about battery options.

It’s basically a bigger version of the VF6 and comes with a similar choice between cloth or "premium" fake leather upholstery depending on the trim. It also comes with a bigger central touch screen offering all the same connectivity features.

Pricing is a mystery right now (possibly even to the manufacturer) but we imagine it’ll be looking to undercut the competition if it can. Though if VinFast sticks with its earlier trend, customers will be able to purchase the vehicles normally or dive into them via a subscription service. Assuming they’re sold in your area, that is.

[Images: VinFast]

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3 of 14 comments
  • ToolGuy ToolGuy on Nov 21, 2022

    My new shelving units were manufactured in Vietnam. Nice fit and finish. Oh sorry, no one cares.

    • Jeff S Jeff S on Nov 21, 2022

      I have had a wood kitchen table set for almost 20 years that was made in Vietnam and it has held up well.

  • DenverMike DenverMike on Nov 21, 2022

    It’s great news, seriously, since everything is going flushable.

  • Brendan Pataky Running out of conspiracy theories here. And how is traffic management "inclusive"? Marxism dog whistle.
  • Jkross22 Another group of people convinced wearing underwear will stop their farts.
  • MKizzy Become another rental car company and partner with insurers, auto repair shops, and dealerships to offer short to middle term loaner vehicles from its inventory and then resale the vehicles after a few thousand miles or another year whichever comes first. Maybe even lease vehicles to wannabe Uber/Lyft drivers.
  • Secret Hi5 Wait . . . the CHR sells enough in Europe to solder on there?
  • Tankinbeans Rekindle the good natured rivalry with Subaru and ditch the ugly-stick.I recall the Evo/WRX rivalry being fun to watch and observe and confess that the Evo VIII was probably the last attractive Mitsubishi that I can recall.