Ranked number five in vehicle sales in its native Vietnam, VinFast is aiming to enter the North American and European markets in 2022, and aims for a listing in the United States as well as a valuation of up to US$60 billion (RM246 billion), according to a Reuters report. Parent firm Vingroup was considering an initial public offering of Vinfast that could raise around USD2 billion (RM8.3 billion), according a report last month.
VinFast will launch in the United States and Canada at the same time, as well as Germany, France and the Netherlands, VinFast CEO Nguyen Thi Van Anh told Reuters. The company will be offering an electric SUV that its CEO described as more luxurious than those currently on offer. The VF31, VF32 and VF33 electric SUVs from the brand were unveiled in January this year.
When they go on sale, VinFast vehicles will be offered with a battery leasing scheme that the firm hopes will lure customers away from the established American domestic market leaders such as Tesla and General Motors, Reuters noted.
This could be priced at a monthly sum roughly equivalent to what an average consumer might spend on petrol, and VinFast will replace the battery pack – which uses Samsung battery cells – when it reaches 70% of its full lifespan, the company’s CEO said.
The company’s electric SUVs will be priced less than other comparable electric vehicles, according to its investor presentation as sighted by the news wire. CEO Van Anh declined to discuss competitors, noted Reuters, and did not state price ranges for the SUVs that are bound for the overseas markets.
While Vietnam gets to order the VF31 from this month for deliveries in November, the VF32 and VF33 will follow suit in September for deliveries in February 2022. North America and Europe will have their order books opened in November for delivery in June 2022, VinFast stated at the unveiling of its SUVs in January.
In the case of VinFast, there is precedent for Asian carmakers breaking into the United States market, and Reuters cites Toyota in the 1970s and Hyundai in the 1980s as examples, though notes that the brand has attained an annual volume of around 30,000 units in Vietnam last year but has yet to turn a profit.
VinFast plans to conduct most of its sales in the United States online, enabling the brand to do away with a costly dealership network, notes Reuters.
The brand’s VF31 is pitched as a C-segment model but at 4,300 mm long with a 2,611 mm wheelbase, measures very closely to a Honda HR-V. Two variants are offered; these are the standard 114 hp/190 Nm variant with 300 km of range, and a 201 hp/320 Nm premium version.
The VF32 measures 4,780 mm long with a 2,950 mm wheelbase, somewhere in the range of a previous-generation Kia Sorento but with an even longer wheelbase. This gets the 201 hp/320 Nm from the premium VF31 as a base, while the premium variant of the VF32 gets and additional motor for a total of 402 hp and 640 Nm and all-wheel-drive, powered from a 90 kWh battery.
Topping the trio here is the VF33, a seven-seater SUV stretching 5,120 mm long and with a wheelbase of 3,150 mm. This gets a 106 kWh battery for a claimed range of 550 km. All three electric SUVs are being pitched with a rich safety and driver assistance feature set, with Level 4 autonomous driving capability to be eventually available across the board.
This will be comprised of idar sensors, 14 cameras and 19 other sensors that enable three-dimensional environment mapping, automatic parking detection and manoeuvring. To begin with, the VF32 and VF33 will get Level 2 and Level 3 self-driving features including lane and speed control, collision warning and mitigation, parking assistance and driver monitoring.
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