LOS ANGELES — Vietnamese startup VinFast debuted two electric concepts here, officially launching its global brand in the U.S.
The crossovers shown Wednesday are previews of upcoming models:
- The midsize VF e35, with ranges of 285 and 301 miles.
- The full-size, three-row VF e36, with ranges of 301 and 422 miles.
The crossovers are equipped with smart infotainment, including in-car control features such as a voice assistant, a virtual assistant and e-commerce services, to name a few.
Pricing will be announced in spring.
Michael Lohscheller, CEO of VinFast, told Automotive News that the company is anchored by three key pillars: providing consumers with an appealing world-class product, reasonable pricing and great customer service, which will include a mobile customer team.
"With this product quality, reasonable price and great service, we think we have a good electric offering," said Loscheller.
As part of its product strategy, VinFast will allow customers to lease the vehicles' batteries, helping alleviate concerns about them becoming outdated. The e35 and e36 will come with a 10-year warranty, which will cover the battery as well. In addition, the company plans to make a robust charging station strategy part of its product plan in the U.S.
"In Vietnam, VinFast is building 40,000 charging stations just because everybody is realizing if you don't have a charging station, electrification will not take off like we all in the industry think," said Lohscheller.
VinFast's distribution strategy will include its own stores, with plans to open 60 in California, adopting a U.S. retail sales strategy similar to Tesla's.
"We want to provide an outstanding customer service to our customers," Nguyen Van Anh, CEO of VinFast US, told CNN Business on Wednesday. "So we want to control the customer journey from A to Z."
To help position the brand in the U.S., VinFast plans a series of special events in the coming months.
A major component of its U.S. marketing strategy includes targeting consumers beyond today's typical EV buyers and positioning the company as an inclusive brand when it comes to electrification.
Its product strategy includes building a production plant in the U.S. in the second half of 2024.
"When you launch a new brand, you have to get it right," said Lohscheller. "You have this opportunity only once … to get the brand right, position the brand right, work on the image. I do think we have great cost and attractive pricing, but at the end of the day, very few people know VinFast … and so to build this brand awareness and to translate that into consideration and purpose, that's the key."
VinFast, which plans to expand to Europe and Canada in the coming months, expects to open its U.S. order banks for the VF e35 and VF e36 in the spring, with deliveries expected to begin in the fourth quarter of next year.
VinFast, established in 2017, is part of Vingroup, one of the leading private conglomerates in Southeast Asia. Vingroup, founded in 1993, reported a total capitalization of $35 billion, from three publicly traded companies, as of Nov. 4, with a current focus on three main areas: technology, industry and services.