SAN DIEGO — Vietnamese automaker VinFast is facing a rough patch on the road to breaking into the U.S. market.
New tax rules removed the $7,500 federal electric vehicle incentive for its imported vehicles last year. Its first model, the VF 8 crossover, was rated at just 200 miles (322 km) of battery range by the EPA. Its competitor Tesla started an EV price war in January. And early reviews of the VF 8 suggest it was rushed to market and needs fine-tuning.
But VinFast is not letting short-term problems cloud its long-term vision, North America CEO Van Anh Nguyen told Automotive News last week during the startup's first U.S. media driving event here.
Backed by Vietnamese conglomerate Vingroup, VinFast is preparing a North Carolina site for a U.S. plant, with production expected in 2025. In the meantime, the young automaker plans to bring four stylish EVs to the North American market from its modern factory in Vietnam, Nguyen said.
The VF 9 three-row crossover will be the second VinFast vehicle in the U.S. by this summer, followed by the compact VF 6 and VF 7 crossovers by the end of the year.
"When you are committed to your plan and have the means to execute your plan, then you just do it instead of listening to so much noise," Nguyen said. "The North American market has a lot of conditions for us to launch the brand here and make it the most important market for us."