VinFast Touts Cheap And Tiny EV, Amid Sales Concerns

Amid concerns about EV sales, a new small and cheap EV from VinFast is aimed primarily at the Asian market

Vietnamese electric auto start-up VinFast is hoping a new model of electric vehicle (EV) will help resolve one of its pressing concerns – the small volume of sales.

The Associated Press reported that VinFast is banking on its smallest and cheapest EV so far – a tiny electric mini-SUV called the VF3 priced at just $9,200 – in order to turn around its fortunes.

It has been a remarkable year for the EV maker. For a short time last year VinFast was the third-most valuable car company in the world (after Tesla and Toyota), despite it only selling 7,400 cars in 2023, all in Vietnam.

VinFast VF3.
Image credit VinFast/Shopee

VinFast concerns

Indeed, after its 2023 IPO, VinFast was more valuable than General Motors Corp. and Ford Motor Co.

But VinFast’s lack of sales is said to be worrying industry observers, and its shares are currently trading around $4, well down from a peak of $82.35.

The company was founded in 2017 by billionaire Pham Nhat Vuong, head of parent company Vingroup, which operates in sectors including real estate development, technology and retail.

Vuong controls about 99 percent of VinFast through his own shares and those held by his wife and Vingroup.

But in an effort to resolve its finances, the AP reported that Vingroup recently sold its profitable commercial property arm, Vincom Retail.

Founder Pham Nhat Vuong also reportedly committed $1 billion of his personal wealth, on top of the $11.4 billion of financing the parent company injected into VinFast in 2017-2023, according to a filing to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

The Associated Press also reported that VinFast is facing delays in construction of a $4 billion factory in North Carolina.

But that is not the only problem it is facing in North America, where FinFast is said to be facing legal troubles over a crash that killed four people in California. The firm is also reportedly dealing with allegations of patent infringement.

And there reports of a troubling lack of EV sales in the important North America market.

Some reports have suggested VinFast sold fewer than 1,000 cars in North America last year (and some reports suggest less than 300 were sold in America in 2024), amid 35,000 sales globally.

In 2023 VinFast had reported a net loss of $2.39 billion, despite a 90 percent increase in revenue.

New model

Amid this, VinFast has announced a new EV model, which is reportedly designed specifically for the Vietnamese and other Asian markets.

The VF3 is VinFast’s tiniest and cheapest car yet, and measures 10-foot-long and is priced at $9,200. The firm, according to AP, is hoping it will become Vietnam’s “national car” due to its “mass appeal” and win over consumers in Asian markets.

It reportedly measures 3.1-meters-long, and 1.6 meters wide and high (10 feet long and 5.2 feet wide and high), it can squeeze into narrow lanes in Asian cities, but still seats five people.

VinFast VF3.
Image credit VinFast/Shopee

VinFast is expecting bigger sales for the VF3 than from earlier models that were meant mainly for export to western countries, Le Thi Thuy, Vingroup’s chairperson, reportedly said in an earnings call in April.

VinFast aims to sell 20,000 of these cars in Vietnam this year and deliveries will begin in August. It is being sold on the Southeast Asian e-commerce website Shopee, with an initial deposit of about $2,000.

The company says more than 27,000 people applied to buy the car in the first three days after orders opened on 13 May.