VinFast, the newly established Vietnamese automaker, has announced prices for its first two European models, both full-electric crossovers.
The midsize VF 8 will start at 43,350 euros ($49,270); and the large VF 9, with three rows of seats, will start at 59,150 euros ($67,240). Neither price includes battery rental.
The automaker, part of the Vingroup JSC conglomerate, first launched vehicles in 2019 with BMW components, including internal-combustion engines. But it is seeking to become a full-electric, global brand, with a range of models designed by Pininfarina.
The 4750 mm-long VF 8 has a range of 504 km, and the 5120 mm-long VF 9 has a range of 550 km. Both ranges are preliminary values, VinFast said. The models had earlier been known as the VFe35 and VFe36.
European buyers who put down 150 euros for a reservation will receive a discount voucher if they buy one of the vehicles. They can get 2,500 euros off the VF 8 and 4,200 euros off the VF 9, VinFast said. A similar program is in place in North America.
VinFast did not announce a price for battery rentals, but said it would replace the battery once its efficiency reached 70 percent.
The two models will launch in Vietnam, North America and Europe after mid-2022. They will initially be available in France, Germany and the Netherlands, with a direct distribution sales model based on showrooms.
The VF 8 and VF 9 will face a growing number of competitors in Europe, including some from Asian automakers hoping to crack the European market with full-electric SUVs and crossovers. Among similar size entrants are the China-built Aiways U5 (4680 mm long), at 39,300 euros; the VW ID5 (4599 mm long), at 51,450 euros; the Hyundai EV6 (4680 mm long), at 43,990 euros, and a sibling model from Hyundai group, the Ioniq 5; and the Ford Mustang Mach E (4743 mm long), which starts at 47,500 euros. The Tesla Model Y starts at 59,000 euros.
There are few large full-electric crossovers or SUVs available for sale in Europe, but one entrant is the China-built Nio ES8 (5022 mm long), which is launching in Norway at about 60,000 euros.
VinFast has recently shuffled its leadership, with former Opel/Vauxhall CEO Michael Lohscheller stepping down in December several months after taking the post. He was replaced by Le Thi Thu Thuy, who retains her post as Vingroup vice chairwoman.
VinFast has ambitious plans for international growth. It sold about 30,000 vehicles domestically last year and has set a target of selling 15,000 electric vehicles in 2022.
The automaker said recently that it was seeking a production site in Germany and says it wants to build a battery factory in the U.S.