Vietnamese EV maker VinFast (VFS) may launch the cheapest EV in the US soon. VinFast showed off its VF 3 electric car to US dealers, which could launch at under $20,000.
VinFast is mulling adding a fifth electric model to its US offerings that could serve an important market.
The EV maker currently sells the VF e34, VF 5, VF 8, and VF 9, but new models are on the way. VinFast is preparing to launch the VF 6 and VF 7 in Vietnam ahead of global deliveries.
Its most recent addition – the VF 3. Although the electric minicar is specifically designed for Vietnam, it could find another home in the US, among other global markets.
VinFast unveiled the VF 3 in June, a compact but functional electric mini car. The mini SUV is only 10.2 feet long (3,114 mm) but can fit five people.
Although the vehicle is compact, it features plenty of ground clearance and is equipped with 16″ wheels.
VinFast is expected to begin selling the VF 3 sales in Vietnam next year. So, what about the US?
Is VinFast launching a $20,000 electric car in the US?
Representatives from the company told Automotive News that VinFast is considering adding the electric car to its US lineup. The VinFast VF 3 could start at around $20,000 as the cheapest EV in the states.
VinFast is shifting its strategy as it looks to sell models through US dealers. The EV maker has had several meetings already, with overall feedback coming back positive.
VinFast told AN, “We are discussing with a majority of large, well-established dealers across the US, following the positive responses from our dealers.” Adding “Further details will be announced in due course.”
Duke Hale, a VinFast advisor, explained with other A-segment vehicles like the Chevy Spark and Fiat 500 being discontinued, it could leave an opening for VinFast.
Potential VinFast dealers want the VF 3 to attract buyers looking for an affordable EV starting around $20,000.
Hale said the EV maker had two meetings with prospective dealers in the past month. VinFast even brought a life-sized foam model of the VF3 to show dealers.
The advisor said nearly all of the dealers (about 100 of them) wanted to see the VF 3 make its way to the US.
“They liked the whole lineup, but the VF 3, I would say, got an almost 100 percent response.” Hale explained in an interview, “They really liked the VF 3, and the reason is it’s probably sub-$20,000.”
Although pricing has yet to be revealed for the VF 3, VinFast’s larger VF 6 starts at roughly $26,000 in Vietnam.
VinFast revealed four EVs for its US lineup, including the VF 6, VF 7, VF 8, and three-row VF 9. It also broke ground on its first US EV plant in July. But, a $20,000 electric car would offer something unique and in demand.
Although the US market is known for its large trucks and SUVs, there’s a growing segment of buyers looking for smaller, more efficient vehicles.
In this segment, price is generally a big concern (in addition to efficiency). At $20,000, the VF 3 could offer “something no other automaker can likely touch,” according to Hale.
The VF 3 could also qualify for the $7,500 EV tax credit through leasing, potentially bringing prices as low as $12,500 for shoppers.
VinFast is struggling to gain traction in the US market, with EV leader Tesla slashing prices all year, forcing other automakers to follow. When asked why US dealers would want an electric minicar, Haley pointed to being a “price leader” and attracting younger buyers.
The company has already lowered prices to compete, but without an established brand, the road ahead could be even more challenging.
A $20,000 electric car would be the perfect addition to VinFast’s US portfolio. The brand could establish itself in a segment poised to keep growing.
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