Michael Lohscheller has a track record in the world of automobile manufacturing. Before being named global CEO of VinFast, Vietnam’s leading vehicle automaker, in July he was an executive at Volkswagen and Opel. In a recent email to Reuters, he announced the company will unveil two of its latest battery electric models — the e35 and e36 — at the Los Angeles Auto Show next month.
Our last report on the company identified the two VinFast models coming to the US as the e32 and e33, but this latest announcement involves two all new models. Note that VinFast collaborates with Italy’s Pininfarina to design its vehicles.
“It’s still early to make any sales predictions,” Lohscheller said, but added VinFast will begin taking orders for the two electric models early next year, with deliveries beginning by the end of 2022. The company plans to open 60 US showrooms during the coming year. The Los Angeles show will mark the company’s official introduction to the American market after it starts deliveries to customers in its home market in December.
VinFast is a subsidiary of Vingroup, which was founded as an instant noodle business in post-Soviet Ukraine and now has interests spanning real estate, resorts, schools, hospitals, and smartphones. It is now the largest conglomerate in Vietnam. Founded in 2017, Vinfast is aiming to compete on vehicle size and price.
Like China’s Nio, it will offer a battery leasing plan to help keep the cost of a new car to a minimum. The leasing program eliminates the concerns many customers have about the longevity of EV batteries. It also potentially allows customers to upgrade their battery at any time and enjoy the latest battery technology at all times.
VinFast has an assembly plant in Haiphong, Vietnam, and is planning to conduct most of its U.S. sales online. Lohscheller said the company will “keep an eye on the possibility of a manufacturing facility in the U.S.” It is targeting global EV sales next year of 15,000 vehicles — down from its prior goal of 56,000 due to the global semiconductor chip shortage.
“VinFast has a plan for an IPO in the U.S., but specific timing will depend on the market and other conditions,” Lohscheller said. “We will reveal more information at an appropriate time in the future.” The company promises to offer vehicles with cutting edge self-driving technology and connectivity. We will have to wait and see if it is able to deliver on that promise.
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