Despite communist forces defeating the United States there almost 50 years ago, Vietnam has embraced some aspects of market capitalism, including foreign investment. Foreign car manufacturers have assembled some of their models in Vietnam for decades. Ford and Mercedes-Benz are two of the various automakers with operations within the country’s borders. VinFast, Vietnam’s first domestic automaker, now aims to return the favor in their home countries.
VinFast has announced plans to open factories in the United States and Germany. This announcement coincided with the company’s unveiling of three new EV models at the 2022 Consumer Electronics Show, the VF5, the VF6 and the VF7. The Vietnamese automaker hasn’t revealed any technical details about the new electric crossover SUVs. Though, VinFast hasn’t been shy in explaining how it will produce its model for foreign markets.
VinFast’s planned factory in the United States will build electric vehicle batteries and electric buses. VinFast CEO Le Thi Thu Thuy confirmed to Reuters that the company is close to deciding on a site for the facility. She said, “We have narrowed down from I think, over 50 sites to about three sites.” VinFast hopes to begin EV production in the US by 2024. Until then, the company will continue to ship vehicles from Vietnam.
VinFast expects to start selling electric vehicles in Europe this year, and the company is also looking to build a plant in Germany. German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung believes that VinFast could be acquiring an Opel plant in Eisenach. Previously, the Vietnamese company produced rebadged Opel models in a former General Motors plant in Hanoi.
The company had made its strategy clear. It intends to minimize supply chain issues by building cars as close to the intended point of sale as possible. VinFast stated, “The era of shipping cars around the world is over, especially since COVID-19. You must have the factory close to the market in order to win over your customers.” Only time will tell if VinFast can impact an increasingly competitive EV marketplace.