HAI PHONG, Vietnam, Nov 25 (Reuters) – Vietnamese electric vehicle maker VinFast said on Friday it had shipped its first batch of 999 cars to the United States, marking a five-year bid to develop a car production center in the Southeast Asian country was capped. for markets in North America and Europe.
The first cars are expected to be handed over to customers by the end of December, the company said.
VinFast chief executive Le Thi Thu Thuy said some of the VF 8 electric SUVs shipping Friday will be sent to US car subscription service Autonomy, but the majority will go to private buyers who ordered the car.
Thuy said VinFast is expected to ship a second batch of cars to the United States, its first export market, around January.
VinFast is building an electric vehicle plant in North Carolina, which is awaiting final approval from local officials.
Thuy said the company expected to begin production at its North Carolina plant from July 2024 and that electric vehicles built there would be eligible for incentives under the terms of the Inflation Reduction Act signed by US President Joe Biden .
The Inflation Reduction Act, as currently drafted, requires automakers to source 50% of critical minerals used in EV batteries from North America or US allies by 2024, rising to 80% by the end of the year. 2026.
Major automakers have said those targets are unrealistic and it was not immediately clear how VinFast would meet procurement requirements.
“The IRA came as a surprise to all of us, but it doesn’t really impact our strategy in the US,” Thuy told Reuters. “Once we start manufacturing cars in the US, our customers will be eligible for the tax incentive.”
VinFast said last week that Autonomy had ordered 2,500 electric vehicles, its largest corporate order to date. VinFast has said it has a total of nearly 65,000 orders worldwide and expects to sell 750,000 electric vehicles annually by 2026.
The North Carolina factory project is months behind schedule based on the company’s initial goals, and the first shipment of VinFast-built electric cars fell short of its initial goal of delivering as many as 5,000 cars to be built at the plant in December by December. Haiphong are built.
VinFast officials said the number 999 for the vehicles shipped in the first batch was chosen because it is considered a lucky number in Vietnam.
“There’s no happier number than 999,” Thuy said. The Panama-chartered transport ship that shipped the first shipment of VinFast EVs had the capacity to carry up to 2,000 vehicles, officials said.
Shares of VinFast’s publicly traded parent company, Vingroup, which also has real estate and resort development operations, rose 5.41% Friday morning.
Reporting by Phuong Nguyen; Written by Kevin Krolicki; Edited by Ed Davies and Edmund Klamann
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