VinFast Recalls First Batch of USbound EVs Over Safety Risk

Vietnamese EV maker VinFast has all the resources, market reach, and ambition to take on the world’s largest car companies. But unlike most start-up automakers, it harbors a very different background. It’s part of the conglomerate Vingroup, one of Vietnam’s most prominent industrial giants with revenues that account for 2.2% of the country’s GDP.

VinFast’s goal is to become a high-tech brand with global influence, and its 2000-acre plot of land near Hai Phong is being transformed into a burgeoning assembly complex that will produce its first three vehicles by mid-2023. It also plans to build and ship U.S.-market VF 8 SUVs from a North Carolina plant that received $1.2 billion in incentives from state and local governments.

The VF 8 is the company’s linchpin model, and it’s built to challenge the likes of Tesla, Toyota, and Ford in the coveted family-hauler segment. It’s a five-seater that measures 187 inches long, 74.8 inches wide, and 65.4 inches tall. That makes it about six inches longer, an inch wider than a Toyota RAV4, and roughly the same height as a BMW X5.

The vehicle was impressively quiet and smooth when we drove a VF 8 on a short course near VinFast’s headquarters in Ho Chi Minh City. Its acceleration was also strong, and the brake pedal felt responsive. We also liked that the VF 8 can be driven in manual mode and can reverse parking maneuvers, which will be helpful in congested city traffic. The only thing we weren’t crazy about was that there was no trunk space for luggage, which is a significant drawback to this vehicle.

After hours behind the wheel, we sat down with VinFast President Nguyen Van Quan to discuss its vision for the EV industry and its plans for America. “We don’t think there is any other manufacturer that has a similar approach to us,” he said, noting that the company aims to offer a range of driver-assist features and a bundle of Smart Services that include in-car online shopping and video games.

That’s why it’s so disappointing that VinFast has recalled the first batch of vehicles it shipped to the United States last year. The recall is initiated by a safety warning issued by U.S. authorities, who say 999 of VinFast’s VF 8 vehicles suffered from a software error that prevented critical safety information from being shown and “may increase the risk of a crash.” The company is working on updating the faulty dashboard display for affected owners, according to a government statement. Reached for comment, a VinFast spokeswoman declined to provide details of the problem. However, she added that the company had not received any field reports of accidents or injuries related to the issue. This story will be updated as more information becomes available. The recalled vehicles were produced from August 2018 to October 2018. See our complete VinFast review.


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