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 shipped its first batch of 999 cars to the United States, capping a five-year bid to build a car production center in the Southeast Asian country. to develop for markets in North America and Europe.

The first cars are expected to be handed over to customers by the end of December, the company said.

VinFast CEO Le Thi Thu Thuy said some of the FF 8 electric SUVs shipped on Friday will be sent to US car subscription service Autonomy, but the majority will go to retail buyers who ordered the car.

Thuy said VinFast is expected to be able to send a second batch of cars to the United States, its first export market, in January.

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

Thuy said the company is expected to start production at the North Carolina factory from July 2024 and that electric vehicles built there will qualify for incentives under the terms of the Inflation Reduction Act signed by US President Joe Biden is.

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

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Major automakers said those targets were unrealistic and it was not immediately clear how VinFast would meet the procurement requirements.

“The IRA was a surprise to all of us, but it doesn’t really have an impact on our strategy in the US,” Thuy told Reuters. “Once we start manufacturing cars in the US, our customers will be eligible (for) the tax incentive.”

VinFast said last week that Autonomy had ordered 2,500 electric vehicles, its largest corporate order to date. VinFast said it has a total of nearly 65,000 orders worldwide 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 built by VinFast fell short of the initial goal of delivering as many as 5,000 cars due at its factory by December Haiphong was built.

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

“There is no luckier number than 999,” said Thuy. The Panamanian-chartered transport ship used to ship the first shipment of VinFast EVs had the capacity to transport up to 2,000 vehicles, officials said.

Shares in 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 Davies and Edmund Klamann

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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