Vietnam’s VinFast ships first electric vehicles to U.S. customers

HAI PHONG, Vietnam, Nov 25 (Reuters) – Vietnam’s electric vehicle maker VinFast said on Friday it had delivered its first batch of 999 cars, completing a five-year bid to develop an auto production hub in the Southeast Asian country. The batch has been shipped to the United States. For North America and Europe markets.

The company said that the first car is expected to be handed over to the customers by the end of December.

Vinfast Chief Executive Officer Le Thi Thu Thuy said some of the VF8 electric SUVs shipped Friday will be sent to US car subscription service Autonomy, but most will go to retail buyers who have ordered the car.

Thuy said VinFast expected to be able to ship the second batch of cars to the United States, its first export market, around January.

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VinFast is in the process of building an electric vehicle plant in North Carolina awaiting final regulatory approval from local authorities.

Thue said the company expected to begin production at the North Carolina factory in July 2024 and electric vehicles built there would qualify for incentives under the terms of the Inflation Reduction Act signed by US President Joe Biden.

The Inflation Reduction Act, as currently written, requires automakers to have 50% of critical minerals used in EV batteries by 2024 to come from North America or US allies by the end of 2026. increases up to 80%.

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Major automakers have said those targets are unrealistic and it was not immediately clear how VinFast would meet the sourcing requirements.

“The IRA came as a surprise to all of us but it doesn’t really affect our strategy in the US,” Thue told Reuters. “As soon as we start manufacturing cars in America, our customers will be eligible for tax incentives.”

VinFast said last week that Autonomy had placed an order for 2,500 electric vehicles, its largest ever corporate order. VinFast has said it has about 65,000 on order globally and expects to sell 750,000 EVs annually by 2026.

The North Carolina factory project is running months behind schedule based on the company’s initial targets, and the first shipment of EVs manufactured by Vinfast fell short of an initial target of delivering 5,000 cars built at its factory in Haiphong by December.

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VinFast officials said that the number 999 was chosen for the vehicles shipped in the first batch because it is considered a lucky number in Vietnam.

Thu said, “There is no luckier number than 999.” Officials said the Panamanian-chartered transport ship Vinfast was used to ship the first consignment of EVs, with a capacity to carry up to 2,000 vehicles.

Shares of VinFast’s listed parent company, Vingroup, which also has property and resort development businesses, rose 5.41% on Friday morning.

Reporting by Phuong Nguyen; Writing by Kevin Krolicki; Editing by Ed Davis and Edmund Kallman

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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