And whether or not we can expect a sports car from the brand.
Though the Vietnamese brand has yet to deliver a single car in the United States, VinFast had a sizable presence at the 2022 Los Angeles Auto Show. VinFast showed off two new models that will come to the US, called the VF 6 and VF 7, which will be sold alongside the two previously revealed SUVs called the VinFast VF 8 and VF 9. With a completely new brand, it's easy to get confused with how the model lineup stacks up against more established competitors.
CarBuzz had a chance to sit down with VinFast Chief Service Officer Craig Westbrook, who shed some light on when each model will arrive on the market and what they will compete with. "The VF 8 will be delivered this year in 2022," Westbrook promised. "And the VF 9 will arrive in the first part of next year ."
VinFast currently produces all of its vehicles in Vietnam, but the company also plans to invest $2 billion in a new production facility in North Carolina. That factory is expected to be operational in July 2024, producing all four models locally.
Westbrook also cleared up some confusion on where the VF 8 and VF 9 are positioned in the market. At 187 inches long, the VF 8 is slightly shorter than mid-size SUVs like the Hyundai Santa Fe and Kia Sorento. But its 116.1-inch wheelbase is much longer than those models. Ditto for the VF 9, a three-row model that rides on a 124-inch wheelbase, which is around 10 inches longer than a Hyundai Palisade.
As for the VF 6 and VF 7 that just arrived in LA, the former will compete against sub-compact EVs like the Hyundai Kona Electric while the latter goes up against compacts such as the Nissan Arya and Volkswagen ID.4. "Our lengths are similar to those models," Westbrook confirmed when asked about model positioning. "But our wheelbase is longer. Short overhangs are big for the design. In addition to that, pushing the axles out to the corners gives you more sense of space inside."
VinFast didn't tell us exactly when the VF 6 and VF 7 will arrive, but Westbrook did promise within a year. "2023. It's going to happen, and that's more than an idea, it's a commitment," he told CarBuzz.
"We come to market with SUVs. That's where our customers feel safe. We anticipate five-start NHTSA ratings," he added. "We also want to represent product across size and pricing with something for just about everyone. We don't want to just have a small, medium, and large. Each car has its own identity, so customers may choose one based on styling rather than size."
Finally, we asked Westbrook if we could expect some sort of halo model from VinFast, like a sports car. "Stay tuned," he answered. "We work with two legendary styling houses (Pininfarina and Torino). The Italians know a thing or two about style. The design [on our four SUV models] will be the inspiration for the future."