VinFast still optimistic despite challenging entry to U.S. auto market


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A VinFast VF8 electric car on display in a showroom.

Yu Ruidong | China News Service | Getty Images

It has been a challenge for Vietnamese electric vehicle maker VinFast to crack the U.S. market amid tough competition and softening demand.

VinFast cut monthly lease prices for its first U.S. buyers to $399, down from $599 per month. American rivals like Tesla slashed prices to attract more customers and drive sales, while Lucid forecast lower-than-expected 2023 production after orders dropped.

But VinFast CEO remains positive on the long-term demand for EVs.

“I think everyone agrees that the whole industry or the whole world is moving from internal combustion engine to EVs,” CEO Le Thi Thu Thuy said on CNBC’s “Squawk Box Asia” on Tuesday.

“And if you take that view, and if you look at the legislation in all different countries and and imagine how many electric vehicles need to be on the road in the coming years, in the coming decade, there’s a lot of room for a lot of players in the market,” said Le.

We won't cut corners in developing our products, says Vietnamese EV maker

She added that VinFast is entering the market “with clear approaches” such as offering premium quality and accessibility for the mass market without cutting corners in cybersecurity and functional safety.

“We still have a lot to prove. It’s a lot ahead of us,” Le said.

Software problems delayed deliveries of VinFast’s first batch of cars to U.S. buyers from December 2022 until March 2023. But on March 1, only 45 SUVs arrived out of 999 EVs that were supposed to be delivered.

VinFast cars are also currently ineligible for the $7,500 tax credit in the U.S. because they are not made in the U.S., but are made in Vietnam — which will impact their U.S. sales.

“Of course, in the long run, we also are pushing for the plants in North Carolina and to make sure that in the future, our vehicles will be qualified for tax benefits under the IRA,” said Le.

Le previously told CNBC that the firm is in the final stages of obtaining permits for its manufacturing plant in North Carolina and that the plant is on track to commence production in 2024.

While the company filed for an initial public offering in December, it has not yet launched its roadshow.

“For us, it’s not about raising monies but it’s a lot about making the company more international and other corporate purposes and the market has been challenging as you know,” said Le.

Vietnam's VinFast EV brand is new, unknown, and taking on the U.S.

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