January 28, 2023

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Born to perform

What to know about VinFast, Vietnam’s electric car company

3 min read

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The state revealed Tuesday that Vietnamese auto manufacturer VinFast will build an electric vehicle manufacturing plant in the Triangle.

The automaker will invest at least $4 billion to build a plant at Moncure’s Triangle Innovation Point, a 2,150-acre “megasite” just north of Sanford. The new facility will employ as many as 7,500 people, The News & Observer has reported.

But just who is VinFast? Here’s what we know.

When was VinFast founded?

VinFast is a subsidiary of the conglomerate VinGroup, which was established by developer and entrepreneur Pham Nhat Vuong in Ukraine in 1993. Back then, it was known as Technocom Corporation.

The real estate and tech conglomerate launched in Vietnam in 2000 and announced its foray into car manufacturing in 2017.

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Vietnamese automaker VinFast plans to build its U.S. auto manufacturing plant in the greater Triangle region. Courtesy of VinFast

VinFast established its first “fully digital automotive manufacturing complex” on the sparsely populated island of Cat Hai in northern Vietnam.

The company announced in November that its U.S. headquarters would be in Los Angeles and said last month it was searching for a place to build batteries in the U.S.

Forbes puts VinGroup’s market cap at $21 billion and estimates Vuong’s net worth at over $6 billion.

VinFast sells VF 9 and VF 8 SUVs in the U.S.

The automaker’s cars and scooters are best-sellers in Vietnam, but it only sells larger sport utility vehicles in the global market.

Two fully electric SUVs are available for pre-sale in the U.S., with the company estimating deliveries will begin late this year. Autonomous driving features will be available in both.

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VinFast produces two all-electric sport utility vehicles for the U.S. market, the VF 8 and VF 9. Provided photo

The VF 8 is a mid-size SUV that seats five and has a range of 316 miles. The VF 9 is a full-size SUV with a range of 422 miles. It seats six or seven.

Both are equipped with 15-inch touchscreens in the center of the dash. The company says the VF 8 battery takes 24 minutes to charge from 10-70%. The VF 9 takes 26 minutes.

The vehicles were designed by the Italian firm Pininfarina, whose customers include Ferrari, Maserati, Hyundai and Fiat.

How much do VinFast cars cost in the U.S.?

VinFast began accepting pre-orders for the VF 8 and VF 9 this year.

The VF 8 starts at $41,000 and the VF 9 starts at $56,000.

Reservations cost $200 and are being delivered as nonfungible tokens, or NFTs, which use blockchain technology to provide proof of ownership. Those who bite by April 5 will get several thousand dollars off their purchase, as well as other perks.

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A look inside a VinFast auto manufacturing plant. Provided photo

Who is VinFast’s CEO?

VinGroup’s chairman and founder is Pham Nhat Vuong.

Vuong went to college in Russia and made his first millions after launching an instant noodle company in Ukraine, according to a 2013 Forbes profile that identified him as Vietnam’s first billionaire.

Van Anh Nguyen is the CEO of VinFast USA, while VinFast Global is led by Madam Le Thi Thu Thuy.

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VinFast opened its first fully digital automotive manufacturing complex in 2017 on Cat Hai Island in Vietnam. Provided photo

Is VinFast planning an IPO?

VinGroup told Reuters in December that it was planning an initial public offering for VinFast in late 2022.

The IPO was expected to raise $3 billion, according to the report.

Does VinFast only make electric vehicles?

VinFast has said its entire range of vehicles will be fully electric by the end of the year.

What incentives has VinFast gotten in the U.S.?

If it meets hiring goals in North Carolina, VinFast will get a incentives package from the state worth $854 million over 32 years. Chatham County will chip in another $400 million.

The state of California awarded VinFast $20.5 in incentives to headquarter in Los Angeles last fall, public records show. The agreement requires the company to invest more than $200 million and add 1,066 jobs by 2025.

This story was originally published March 29, 2022 1:37 PM.

Profile Image of Mary Helen Moore

Mary Helen Moore covers real estate and business for The News & Observer. She grew up in Eastern North Carolina and attended UNC-Chapel Hill before spending several years working in newspapers in Florida. Outside of work, you might find her biking, reading, or fawning over plants.



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