Vietnam's VinFast Bringing Electric SUVs to America

Vietnamese automaker VinFast will debut two new all-electric SUV models—the VF e35 and VF e36 (pictured)—next month at the Los Angeles Auto Show ahead of a planned 2022 U.S. launch. (VinFast)

The electric vehicle (EV) market has opened the door to more new automakers and brands than most people can name. The latest is VinFast, a Vietnamese automaker that announced it would debut its global EV brand at the Los Angeles Auto Show next month.

VinFast, launched in 2017, is the automobile arm of the largest conglomerate in Vietnam, Vingroup. The company will display two all-electric SUVs in L.A.: the VF e35 and VF e36. As part of a surprisingly ambitious roll-out, VinFast said it will start taking pre-orders for the two EV models in the first half of 2022 and plans to open up to 60 showrooms in the United States next year. The first deliveries of these "attractively priced" EVs are supposed to happen before the end of 2022, VinFast global chief executive Michael Lohscheller told Reuters.

While precise details of the new models remain under wraps for now, VinFast said that the VF e35 and VF e36 EVs have features like advanced driving assistance systems with lane-keeping assistance, collision warning, driver monitoring, fully automated parking, and vehicle-summoning capability. The company said that the new EVs would also have appropriately advanced interior and smart infotainment options, including a voice assistant, virtual assistant, and e-commerce services.

"Global demand for quality EVs drives the work of our VinFast team every day," said Vingroup vice-chair Le Thi Thu Thuy, in a statement. "We have made vigorous investments and conducted extensive market research to create premium EVs that will satisfy the desires of global customers. This is just the beginning."

While VinFast will be the first Vietnamese automaker to participate in an L.A. Auto Show, the company previously displayed some of its vehicles at the 2018 Paris Motor Show and has been selling three car models—the Lux A2.0 and Lux SA2.0 SUVs and the Fadil city car—and three electric scooter models—Ludo, Impes, and Klara—in Vietnam since 2019. The company introduced new scooters and an electric bus this year, as well. Alongside the new VF e35 and VF e36 SUVs that VinFast wants to sell worldwide, it is also introducing the VF e34 compact SUV in Vietnam this year. VinFast plans on opening showrooms in Canada and Europe as well.

To entice people to check out the company's L.A. debut, VinFast is offering 500 free tickets to the show to electric-vehicle enthusiasts who submit their email to the company's "join the charge" list on its website.

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