VinFast Agressive Movement into US EV Marketspace

VinFast has some California dealerships but they plan to rapidly expand upon that base.
Vietnamese electric vehicle start up VinFast detailed plans for a nationwide dealer network, saying it expects 125 sales points in the initial phase and “hundreds” by the end of 2024 selling multiple models.

Will VinFast introduce this model to the USA?

It is a teeny car 10,2 foot long but could a good errand car.

I wonder how long this carmaker will exist in the USA? The reviews of their current models are dismal, probably the worst I’ve seen in decades. There’s even a funny video about it.

Making vehicles is hard. It not like Tesla didn’t have quality issues when they began selling EVs.
In fact they are still obtaining some bad press. More than 10 years after the first rolled off the assembly line.

Critics have slammed Tesla for Model 3 quality issues for years. And now CEO Elon Musk is admitting even his harshest critic was right.

In early 2018 engineering consultant Sandy Munro, who tears apart and reverse-engineers cars to assess quality, issued a brutal appraisal of the Model 3 citing “flaws that we would see on a Kia in the ’90s.” He noted inconsistencies such as uneven gaps between exterior panels and paint job issues, telling Autoline, “I can’t imagine how they released this.”

Surprisingly Musk, who has often bristled at criticism, agrees.

Now we get into “Yeah but VinFast is still much worse.” Likely true. Can VinFast rectify the problems? They will have to if they are to survive.

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That likely depends on what the problems are.

In a $20k car today, you can’t expect the same fit and finish as you’d get in a Rolls Royce. I wouldn’t expect those kinds of things to be a huge issue - something that could be worked on, but not an existential threat.

Function and reliability would be the sources of problems that could threaten the company’s future.

So I wouldn’t worry about uneven panel gaps and an orange peel finish on the paint. Instead, I’d watch for more serious issues like ones with the drive train or suspension. That is what will keep people from buying.


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Sure. But how many competitors in their space (EV) did Tesla have at the time? With no competitors, you have a lot of time to improve. With competitors, you have much less time to improve.


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Is battery rental in addition to the price? Not mentioned anywhere.

How in the world has this company survived so long… lol

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I think they decided against battery rentals.

VinFast had also previously told reservation holders they could rent the EV’s battery, though eventually decided against that option.

First mover advantage is real!

The Captain

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Ten years ago Sandy Munro was pointing out panel gaps and telling Tesla about all the other thing they were doing wrong. Years laters Sandy Munro said that not only did Tesla heed his opinions but took the suggesting many steps further. Thank Sandy Munro for giga castings, an idea that legacy OEMs dismissed during some 15 years. Now they are starting to copy Tesla.

My point is that ten years ago the press was reporting reality, now they are reporting sour grapes, Or maybe hating Tesla for not advertising, their legitimate bread and butter.

Haters love the bad press, buyers keep on buying Teslas.

The Captain

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As an aside, one funny thing in the media is that direct advertising dollars isn’t always the prime source of revenue anymore. “Clicks” and “views” bring in a heck of a lot of revenue now. And it’s amazing, but the Tesla lovers, and the Tesla haters, and the agnostic are clicking/viewing like crazy. All of them. Everyone seems to want to see “the latest”, the latest story, the latest pics of new vehicles, the latest videos, the latest reviews, etc. And Tesla in particular seems to be driving massive numbers of clicks/views/discussions/etc, for example the Cybertruck that has sold zero units so far has dominated the “buzz” in that segment for a couple of years, EVEN while the competitors have actually released products and sold them to the public! I wouldn’t be surprised if net-net Tesla provides just as much revenue to the media as some other larger automakers do. It just does it in a different way than direct advertising.


Is that time soon coming to an end?
So far Chinese EV manufacturers have eschew coming to USA due to 27.5% tariff on EVs made in China. I will come back to this statement.

China EVs are being exported to the EU as there isn’t a severe barrier to their importation.
March 2023 article about 2022 EV registrations.

You will note the registration of Geely group and other Chinese brands are up over 100%. They are making headway in the EU.
Chinese automakers are winning over drivers in Europe’s electric vehicle market – a key industry in Europe’s green energy transition.
Chinese EV makers are drawn to Europe because auto import tariffs are just 10% versus 27.5% in the U.S., independent auto analyst Matthias Schmidt said. Europe also has the world’s second-biggest EV battery market after China.

Nevermind the geopolitics. Climate-conscious car buyers in Europe who are grappling with an increased cost of living rave about how Chinese EVs are affordable yet packed with features and stylish design. Concerns about the threat to local carmakers and jobs just aren’t a factor for them.

BYD is Tesla biggest competition in the China market which is the worlds biggest EV market. They just announced a plan for a BYD factory in Hungary.

2 smallest China EV manufacturers (Nio-Xpeng)(20,000 EV sales a month)(not yet profitable) have presence in the EU and are expanding into more European markets.
Nio has announced they plan to come to the USA in 2025.
I assume the strategy is to tackle the easier markets first then attack the nation with the highest trade barrier last (USA).

Now back to the USA.
China owned Volvo sidesteps 27.5% tarriff by building cars in South Carolina:

In July, the electric car company Polestar unveiled a new dealership just blocks away from the White House in Washington, D.C.

The first shot across the bow.
US lawmakers push for even higher tariffs.
If that passes all it will do is drive Chinese EV manufacturers to build factories in the US or perhaps in Mexico.
The competitive landscape will not change overnight. But in 5 years, boy howdy, BIG changes in US EV market space will occur.
And likely a corresponding deflation effect upon used EV pricing.