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Vietnam’s Richest Man Plans Electric Car Factory in the U.S.

Viet

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2 March 2021, 03:28 CETUpdated on 2 March 2021, 03:47 CET
  • VinFast to set up showrooms, service centers in California
  • Company has established 50-member San Francisco R&D center
Inside a Vinfast factory in Haiphong, Vietnam. VinFast sold about 30,000 vehicles last year.

Inside a Vinfast factory in Haiphong, Vietnam. VinFast sold about 30,000 vehicles last year.
Photographer: Yen Duong/Bloomberg

Vietnamese electric-vehicle startup VinFast plans to open a U.S. factory after setting up a 50-member San Francisco research office as it prepares for California automobile sales in 2022.

VinFast, founded by billionaire Pham Nhat Vuong, began delivering gasoline autos to Vietnamese consumers with BMW-licensed engines in 2019. Vuong, who is also chairman of parent company Vingroup JSC, said late that year he would back the company’s U.S. ambitions with $2 billion of his own fortune.


Vietnam's Richest Man Pham Nhat Vuong Bets $2 Billion to Sell Cars to Americans

Pham Nhat Vuong
Photographer: Yen Duong/Bloomberg
The company plans to establish an automobile factory in the U.S., VinFast Chief Executive Officer Thai Thanh Hai said in an email response to questions, declining to provide details around timing or possible factory locations. The company is also planning sales in Canada and Europe next year.

“VinFast’s vision is to become a global smart electric car company and the U.S. market is one of the first international markets that we will focus on,” she said. “We initially will develop high-end models for the U.S.”

The North American car market won’t be an easy one to crack. Not only have big legacy carmakers like Ford Motor Co. and General Motors Co. been spending billions of dollars on electric cars, but investors have poured billions more into blank-check companies to take EV startups public via reverse mergers.


EV makers, many of which are yet to launch commercial products, have taken advantage of that. Nikola Corp. was the first high profile one to go public via a SPAC listing, followed by others including Lucid Motors Inc., Lordstown Motors Corp., Fisker Inc., Canoo Inc. and Xos, a maker of electric commercial vehicles.

Read more: SPAC Boom Propels Electric Carmakers to Public Markets

VinFast sold about 30,000 vehicles last year. The company forecasts sales of more than 45,000 units in 2021. It will begin delivery of EVs produced at its factory in the northern port city of Haiphong to domestic customers by December.

Vietnam's Richest Man Pham Nhat Vuong Bets $2 Billion to Sell Cars to Americans

Workers connect the drive train and the body frame inside a Vinfast factory in Haiphong, Vietnam.
Photographer: Yen Duong/Bloomberg

Consumers in Vietnam purchased 296,634 cars last year, according to the Vietnam Automobile Manufacturers’ Association. Hyundai Motor Co. was the leading brand, with sales of 81,368.

Hai said VinFast believes it can win over U.S. and other overseas customers leery of buying an automobile from a Vietnamese company they know little or nothing about by offering top-quality vehicles with high safety standards and advanced technology.

Vietnam’s Richest Man Bets $2 Billion to Sell Cars to Americans

VinFast, which also produces electric motorbikes and electric buses, plans to open 35 California showrooms and service centers this year, she said. California regulators have granted VinFast a license to test autonomous vehicles on public streets. The company aims to deliver its first electric vehicles to U.S. customers next year.

Hai didn’t say how much the company will invest in the U.S. VinFast still expects to be profitable after five years of operation, though the global pandemic has “made things more difficult,” she said.

The VinFast R&D Institute, with offices in San Francisco, Australia and Vietnam, is working on autonomous automobile technology, according to Bui Hai Hung, head of VinAI Research, who oversees the company’s global research. VinAI and the research institute are developing autopilot features for cars planned for the U.S. market in 2022, he said.

VinFast plans to offer two electric luxury SUVs -- the VF32 and VF33 -- in the U.S., Canada and Europe.

Vietnam’s VinFast Aims to Deliver First EVs to U.S. in 2022

California Governor Gavin Newsom’s executive order in September to phase outsales of new gasoline-powered cars by 2035 is an added impetus for the company to sell EVs in the U.S., Hai said.
“This will help VinFast enter the market faster and also inspire VinFast to invest more strongly in the U.S. market,” she said.
 

Falcon26

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While other billionaires are investing in tech based companies, Pakistani billionaires are putting their money in real estate and empty plots in order to escape taxation.
 

KurtisBrian

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Lol.. I guess this guy has too much cash to burn by commiting suicide of investing in US for EV?
or perhaps he is just a puppet and has been told, by his Puppet Master, what to do with the money and wealth he pretends to have.
 

Viet

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Lol.. I guess this guy has too much cash to burn by commiting suicide of investing in US for EV?
No risk no fun
I think the US will give generous subsidies and tax cuts because we generate jobs.
 

Viet

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how will you do that with a factory in one of the most expensive markets in the US, genius?
You ask how? I don’t know.
I think we will copy the smartest people on this planet: chinese.
In fact VINFAST just signs an agreement with the Taiwanese battery manufacturer Prologium. The first step will be establishing battery factories in Vietnam and then later in the US. VINFAST car factory in Haiphong is run by almost no people so the costs can be kept low in the US. Anyway you are right it’s certainly a high risk adventure.
 

casual

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Tesla for the Rich we make cars for poor people and middle class.
according to your article vinfest will target the electric luxury SUV segment in the U.S. I really do hope Vinfest can come and disrupt that segment as I'll probably buy a electric SUV soon.
 

Viet

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according to your article vinfest will target the electric luxury SUV segment in the U.S. I really do hope Vinfest can come and disrupt that segment as I'll probably buy a electric SUV soon.
Good
Let’s see if the company will succeed. no surprise that VINFAST starts with California. The state is the home of largest Viet people outside Vietnam. I think our people will buy VINFAST cars.
 

Paul2

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Good
Let’s see if the company will succeed. no surprise that VINFAST starts with California. The state is the home of largest Viet people outside Vietnam.
California has a lot of South Vietnamese indeed.

 

EasyNow

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This man did not become a billionaire by being dumb. I'm sure he has a plan that none of us can see... Maybe the only way into the worlds most lucrative EV market is by manufacturing there?

Tbh most Asian countries are not ready for the electricity requirements for full EV roll out and won't be for decades. Even the UK is not ready, it needs 2 times full capacity if all cars go electric.
 

Kai Liu

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It is better for him to invest his money in some already existing US start-up companies instead of selling cars under the vinfest brand, otherwise he will have ZERO chance as people will not buy cars with vn background even if in fact it has ZERO vn compnent or technology...
Yes Vietnamese like us are patriots.
Showrooms in the US. Cool stuff. What you think?

View attachment 722232 View attachment 722233 View attachment 722234
Set up a showroom in the US certainly can help to promote its image at home in vn, a lot of Chinese companies did it back one or two decades ago even they didn't sell shxt in the US...
 
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