Automotive startup VinFast, founded 4 years ago, is the brainchild of Phạm Nhật Vượng who is billed as Vietnam’s first dollar billionaire. With the input of Pininfarina and BMW VinFast debuted a number of concepts at the 2018 Paris Motorshow. Fast forward a few years and the company is now selling the LUX A2.0 sedan and the LUX SA2.0 SUV to the Russian market. Both models are based on previous generation BMW models, in this case the 7 Series and X5. And as form follows BMW function VinFast sedans and SUVs are either rear-wheel drive or 4-wheel-drive and use BMW engines and drivetrains under license.
However, for America, VinFast has a different proposition on offer. The company arrived at the 2021 L.A. Autoshow armed and loaded with two new EV crossover concepts. The VF e35 and VF e36 are pure electric crossovers with a respective range of upto 285 miles and 422 miles. Official model specs and pricing will be revealed in spring 2022.
VinFast are making bold claims, such as offering a “world class” product, reasonable pricing and superb customer services. Their electric car strategy is built around allowing customers to lease the batteries rather than the car. It’s a bit of an oxymoron, but VinFast believes this will prevent obsolescence, which will be an extraordinary industry first.
And to back up the removal of planned obsolescence, VinFast will offer a 10 year warranty to all electric cars sold. VinFast has ambitious plans to expand its sales operations into Europe and North America. The debut of the VF e35 and VF e36 are designed to announce the company’s presence and generate publicity.
Whether VinFast has the brand cache is another matter, it certainly has plenty of cash. And if it can offer a quality product at a reasonable price then it could sell to the small number of silicon valley tech startups it is targeting. Even so, it’s eaiser said than done.