VinFast sells electric vehicles a way that Tesla doesn’t endorse

Electric vehicle companies are busy rolling out new models to keep pace with the industry’s leading manufacturer, Tesla. They are also seeking the best ways to market and sell their cars to consumers to generate significant delivery volume.  

Most start-up electric vehicle companies, including Tesla, Rivian and Lucid, adopted the direct-to-consumer model for distribution of their EVs, opening showrooms around country to display their vehicles for consumers and offer test drives.

Related: VW-backed electric vehicle maker unveils latest Tesla challenger

Tesla  (TSLA) – Get Free Report leads the way showcasing and selling its EVs through its 239 stores and galleries that are listed on its website. Competitor Lucid  (LCID) – Get Free Report had opened about 40 retail studios globally by mid-2023, with 35 in the U.S. The company said in a statement it would continued opening its studios in North America and globally as it expands.

Rivian  (RIVN) – Get Free Report has been showcasing its vehicles in showrooms that it calls “Spaces” and lists 11 Spaces open in North American communities, according to its website.

A Vinfast VF8 electric vehicle on the opening day of the Geneva International Motor Show Qatar 2023, in Doha, Qatar, on Oct. 6, 2023. Photographer: Christopher Pike/Bloomberg via Getty Images

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VinFast expands distribution model

Vietnamese EV company VinFast Auto  (VFS) – Get Free Report began selling its VF8 model in the U.S. in March 2023 with 45 deliveries and currently operates over a dozen showrooms in California. The company’s sales in the state had not been robust as only 237 EVs had been registered through September 2023, Electrek reported. In the first half of 2023, VinFast delivered 11,315 vehicles globally, compared to Tesla’s 889,000 deliveries. 

With an urgency to ramp up sales, the company said in a November 2023 statement that it had aggressive plans to expand across the U.S. with more than 70 dealer applications submitted and plans to start distributing its vehicles through 125 points of sale in the coming months. By the end of 2024, it plans to have hundreds of points of sale to distribute its EVs.

“Our mission is to make EVs accessible to everyone. That is why VinFast always strives to expand its business network, and to provide consumers with premium quality electric vehicles, attainable prices, and outstanding aftersales services,” VinFast CEO Steve Tran said in the statement. “Cooperating with dealers will help us shorten the time to bring products to market and to quickly meet the needs of U.S. customers.”

VinFast opens its first dealership

VinFast followed through with its plan on Dec. 28, as it partnered with Cary, N.C., auto dealer Leith Automotive Group to open the EV company’s first dealership at the Cary Auto Park, ABC11 in Durham, N.C. said. The dealership began selling the Vin Fast VF8 crossover and had about 60 vehicles for purchase on the lot. The company will continue opening dealerships and market sales through a hybrid distribution network that includes its showrooms.

The opening of VinFast’s first dealership in North Carolina follows the company’s July 2023 ground breaking of its new $4 billion electric vehicle manufacturing plant in Chatham County, N.C. The 1,800 acre facility will include a body shop, general assembly, press shop, paint shop and an energy center. Other functional facilities will also be located in the factory premises.

VinFast will manufacture the VF 7, VF 8 and VF 9 electric vehicles with an expected production capacity of 150,000 vehicles per year when it begins production in 2025, the company said in a statement at the time.

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