DETROIT: Vietnamese electric vehicle start-up Vinfast could eventually enter the electric pickup truck market, a top U.S. executive said Thursday.
Vinfast, a unit of Vietnamese conglomerate Vingroup, is focused on launching sales of its electric SUVs in the U.S. market later this year, but its vehicle platform allows for expansion into other types of vehicles, Craig said. Westbrook, director of services at Vinfast US. at an Automotive Press Association event in Detroit.
“We want to meet the needs of the market,” he said when asked if Vinfast would ever look to sell an electric pickup. “If we decide that’s what the market needs and that’s particularly relevant to our brand, and I think that’s absolutely possible, yes. That’s something we should consider.”
Ford Motor Co, Rivian and General Motors Co currently sell electric pickup trucks, and Tesla plans to begin production of its Cybertruck pickup in mid-2023.
Vinfast started building electric vehicles in Vietnam late last year and is aiming to switch to all-electric production by 2023.
The company’s plans to begin vehicle production at a plant in North Carolina remain on track for July 2024, Westbrook said. Vinfast plans to open the US plant with an annual capacity of 150,000 vehicles, building the VF8 and VF9 SUVs.
Vinfast has nearly 8,000 reservations for its SUVs in the United States, and between 40,000 and 50,000 worldwide, including Vietnam, Europe and Canada, he said.
The VF8 and VF9 vehicles will have starting prices of $40,700 and $55,500, respectively, but that excludes the cost of renting the electric battery, Westbrook said. A final price on the battery lease has not been set, but will start “in the low $100s” per month, he said.
From 2024, Vinfast will also offer the option of purchasing the battery with the vehicle, Westbrook said. The company expects consumers to split evenly between renting and buying.