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VinFast, a Vietnamese automaker founded in 2017, has been plotting its entry into the U.S. car market for some time. In 2021, after unveiling a pair of electric SUVs, VinFast declared its intentions to bring its EVs stateside in March 2022. Although the fledgling company missed that objective, VinFast still claims it will begin American sales by end of 2022. Now the company is preparing to take a major step toward that goal. As first reported in Automotive News, VinFast will open its first six U.S. showrooms in California next week, with plans for 30 locations throughout the state by the end of the year.
The stores will open on July 14 in Santa Monica, San Diego, San Mateo, Corte Madera, Commerce, and Berkeley. This plan was confirmed to Car and Driver by a VinFast spokesperson on Friday. VinFast set up its U.S. headquarters in Los Angeles in 2021 and has been displaying its two-row VF8 crossover around the Golden State in an attempt to drum up hype before sales begin.
VinFast plans to launch two EVs as its foray into the U.S. market—the aforementioned VF8 and a larger, three-row VF9. The former will have a dual-motor powertrain with either 348 horsepower and 368 pound-feet of torque, or 402 ponies and 457 pound-feet. VinFast claims 5.8-second and 5.3-second 60-mph acceleration times, respectively, and ranges between 248 and 290 miles on Europe’s more optimistic WLTP test cycle. The VF9 comes exclusively with the 402-hp dual-motor setup and a claimed 6.3-second sprint to 60 mph. Range for the VF9 is estimated between 262 and 369 miles on the WLTP cycle.
The VF8 will start at $40,700 and the VF9 at $55,500, but these prices will not include the battery, which will be leased from VinFast. There will be a cheaper monthly plan at $35 for the VF8 and $44 for the VF9, with a limit of 310 driving miles per month, or an unlimited lease at $110 and $160 a month. VinFast also says a purchase option for the battery will be offered in the future.
Along with aiming to sell its electric SUVs in the U.S., VinFast eventually plans to assemble cars here as well. Earlier this year, the automaker announced plans to invest $2 billion in a plant in Chatham County, North Carolina. Production is supposed to get underway in July 2024, with the capacity to build 150,000 units per year.