Vietnam's VinFast ships first EVs to U.S.

STORY: Vietnamese electric vehicle maker VinFast said Friday (November 25) it had shipped its first batch of 999 cars to the U.S.

It marked a milestone for the company that set out five years ago to develop high-end manufacturing in the Southeast Asian country.

VinFast is also in the process of building an EV plant in North Carolina that is awaiting final regulatory approval.

Company chief Le Thi Thu Thuy Thuy said the company expected production to start there from July 2024.

And that electric vehicles built there would qualify under the terms of the U.S.’s Inflation Reduction Act.

It requires that 50% of critical minerals used in EV batteries come from North America or U.S. allies by 2024 – rising to 80% by the end of 2026.

Major automakers have said those targets are unrealistic, while Le said they “came as a surprise”:

“It doesn’t really impact our sales strategy in the U.S. As soon as we start manufacturing cars in the U.S., our customers will be eligible for the $7,500 tax incentives.”

VinFast officials said 999 vehicles have been shipped in the first batch because it’s considered a lucky number.

Shares in its listed parent company, Vingroup, which also has property and resort development businesses, rose around 6% in Friday trade.