VinFast has announced that it will establish its United States headquarters in Los Angeles, California, along with plans to launch two electric SUVs in the country next year. This is part of the Vietnamese carmaker’s global expansion plan, which will see it introduce a line-up of electric vehicles in North America (US and Canada) as well as Europe starting in 2022.
The company’s US HQ will be located in the Playa Vista, an area that is home to several other tech firms, and have built-up area of over 15,000 square feet with room for further expansion. The decision to set up base there is due to the USD20.5 million tax credit awarded by the Californian government, building on VinFast’s investment of more than USD200 million in its initial phase that will see the creation of 1,000 new jobs statewide.
As for the vehicles that customers in the US will have access to, the first is the VF e35, which will compete against models like the Tesla Model Y, Volkswagen ID.4 and Hyundai Ioniq 5. The SUV, like most other VinFast models, is styled by Pininfarina and sports the brand’s signature front grille, which is flanked by two-tier headlamps that are linked by a light bar.
Elsewhere, the VF e35 gets black body cladding, a gently sloping roofline and the taillights are also linked by a light bar that mimics the shape of what you see at the front. As for the interior, the SUV takes a page out of Tesla’s playbook by incorporating a large 15.4-inch infotainment screen, with no instrument cluster in sight.
The other VinFast model for the US is the VF e36 that is much larger (roughly the size of a BMW X7) and will take on the Model X. Unlike the smaller offering, the VF e36 has a much boxier design and gets a more conventional headlamp setup.
There’s still the trademark VinFast grille at the front, with the shape being duplicated at the rear for the taillight/light bar combo. Other highlights include pinched C-pillars that create a “floating roof” look, and the cladding is body-coloured instead. The VF e36’s interior follows in its sibling’s footsteps, so there’s the same-sized infotainment screen on the dash.
Both SUVs will come with a comprehensive suite of cameras, lidar and other sensors to enable Level 3 autonomous driving. The VF e35 will reportedly be offered with a single electric motor rated at 204 PS (201 hp or 150 kW) and 320 Nm of torque, or a dual-motor setup with 408 PS (402 hp or 300 kW) and 640 Nm.
The VF e36 is said to get a dual-motor configuration only, with a range of between 484 km and 679 km, depending on the fitted battery pack. Meanwhile, the VF e35 is good for between 459 km and 499 km of range.
Customers in the US will be able to pre-order both models in the first half of 2022, with deliveries planned to take place in the fourth quarter of the same year. No pricing has been announced just yet, nor is there any word if a local production plant will be set up for now.
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