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VinFast announces EV entry to the US

Still here: The Lang Lang proving ground owned by VinFast is safe but engineers depart as it looks to other markets.

Vietnam’s sole car-maker exits Australia, targets the US and Europe

20 Jul 2021

VIETNAMESE car-maker and owner of Holden’s former Lang Lang proving ground near Melbourne, VinFast, said it will expand into North America and Europe from next March with two electric SUVs.


The company, which became Vietnam’s first car-maker in 2019, makes two petrol-fuelled models for its domestic and South-East Asian markets.


Now it wants to sell the upcoming EVs in the US and Canada from March before expanding into Europe.


VinFast, part of the privately-owned VinGroup, sold about 30,000 vehicles in Vietnam last year and is the county’s fourth most popular brand with an 8.4 per cent share of the market. But it has yet to report a profit.


It has recently opened offices in North America and Europe and plans showrooms in California – months after closing its engineering and R&D centre after only a year in Melbourne. It retains the Lang Lang test facility.


Now the company said it may look at a capital raising to establish itself in North America and Europe.


It has publicly stated it may look at an initial public offering to access to a US share market listing, or a merger with a Special Purpose Acquisition Company (SPAC) that is becoming increasingly common with corporations including Chinese EV maker Lucid Motors that used a SPAC to become public earlier this year.


VinFast makes five models; the BMW 5 Series-based Lux SA2.0 sedan, and the X5-based LuxA2.0 with bodyshells designed by Pininfarina.


It also makes its first EV, the VFe34 SUV that sits on VinFast’s own platform, and the petrol Fadil, a reskinned Opel Karl city car – a version of which was sold in Australia as the Holden Spark. 


The company has produced a limited 500-unit run of a luxury version of the SA2.0, the President, fitted with a GM 6.2-litre V8.


Its North American assault will be led by the small SUV VFe35 and the mid-size SUV, the VFe36.


The VFe35 has dual electric motors that Vinfast claims to make 300kW. It uses a 106kW/h battery that the company said provided a range of more than 400km.


It previously said it planned to build 56,000 EVs in 2022 but has revised downwards its forecast to 15,000 units because of the global semiconductor shortage.


Vinfast has hinted that it will sell cars online and offer its EVs with a battery subscription to reduce the purchase price of the vehicle.


In Australia, VinFast said in May this year that it had closed its Port Melbourne office. In a statement, it said it was: “focusing on vehicle development projects that are participated (in) by its foreign research facilities”.


“However, the COVID-19 pandemic has significantly hindered connections and movements across countries. 


“Therefore, VinFast has decided to gather all vehicle development workforces in foreign countries back to the headquarters in Vietnam in order to optimise all resources and facilitate coordination with the production team in our complex in Hai Phong, Vietnam."


It said that it has “temporarily closed” its Australian office and moved all staff to Vietnam, except about 50 – including managing director Kevin Yardley who resigned – who have left the company with many taking up employment opportunities with Premcar.

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