Vietnamese automaker VinFast is taking a page from technology startups in its approach to launching a line of electric vehicles in the U.S., beginning with two premium crossovers this year. That means big product promises, a breakneck timeline for mass production and the risk of failing fast.
The young automaker, which just delivered its first gasoline-powered vehicle in 2019, made its biggest commitment yet to the U.S. market last week with a preliminary agreement to build assembly and battery factories at a North Carolina industrial park. U.S. production is planned for mid-2024.
The factory plan comes after VinFast showed two electric prototypes at the Los Angeles Auto Show in November, followed by three more models at CES in January. Preorders for its Vietnam-made VF 8 and VF 9 crossovers began in January for delivery this year. VinFast is also expanding to Canada and Europe.
"The project in North Carolina affirms VinFast's commitment in investing and developing business in its international markets in general and the U.S. in particular," VinFast said in a statement last week. "It will also ensure VinFast's self-reliance in global manufacturing."