The European Union has granted regulatory approval to Vietnamese automaker VinFast to sell EVs in Europe, according to a Reuters report. The company plans to sell its VF 8 crossover SUV in Germany, the Netherlands, and France. VinFast has already launched in the United States, but the company’s vehicles have been plagued by quality issues.
“We expect to deliver the first VF 8 models to French, German and Dutch customers in the fourth quarter of this year,” said VinFast CEO Le Thi Thu Thuy.
Chinese automakers, including Tesla, shipped about 70,000 EVs to Europe in the first seven months of this year. With a total market of about 11 million new vehicles per year, there’s room for Chinese manufacturers to augment their domestic sales. However, EU authorities are considering tariffs on the Chinese vehicles for undisclosed reasons.
If the tariffs are applied, the cost of vehicles made in China, including the Tesla Model Y, could go higher than the VinFast offering. Both vehicles trade in Europe for around $50,000 – $55,000. That would create an advantage for the Vietnamese company.
Troubles in America
In keeping with the rapid pace suggested by its name, VinFast began production of its first battery-electric vehicle aimed at the U.S., the VF 8, late last year. A shipment of 999 vehicles — a number considered lucky by the Vietnamese — arrived in California last December. However, a series of setbacks delayed retail sales even as the company moved forward to listing their stock on the NASDAQ exchange and breaking ground for a new factory in the United States.
Further problems ensued when VinFast vehicles received less-than-stellar reviews for quality and reliability at their American introduction.
Factory in progress
At the end of July, VinFast broke ground on a U.S. factory in North Carolina. The $2 billion assembly plant near Raleigh. Together with the listing on the stock market, the company
plans to raise as much as $2 billion in additional funding to back its plan to rapidly expand in the American market. VinFast has also stated an intention to build a factory in Indonesia to serve the Indian, African, and middle eastern markets.
“The last few months have been challenging,” the automaker’s global CEO said in an interview at the plant site in July. “But everything is falling into place and we have a clean vision” of where the company wants to go.