Who is VinFast & What Should We Expect in Canada?
Just over a year ago, nobody here in Canada even knew who VinFast was. Yet, here it is, claiming that by this Fall, it will be selling its first electric vehicle, the VF 8 electric SUV, here in Canada through a series of corporate stores that will be strategically located across the country.
But who is VinFast? Why is Vietnam, a country that has never built cars before, suddenly wishes to sell cars to North American consumers? And what should we expect from the brand in the years to come? Here’s a full breakdown of this intriguing new carmaker.
Who is VinFast and where did they come from?
From instant noodles to cars
VinFast is part of Vingroup, currently Vietnam’s largest conglomerate. Founded in 1993 by Pham Nhat Vuong, a local billionaire who made a fortune in Ukraine when he sold his instant noodle business to Nestle, Vingroup currently operates in 13 sectors of activity in Vietnam.
It operates in things like the scooter business, buses, medical clinics, tourism, real estate and even education. The company is currently evaluated at $3 billion in the US stock market.
Vietnamese car company conceived in 2017
Vingroup decided to start a car company in 2017, which it named VinFast. It believed that the turn towards electrification is like a renaissance for the automobile and that now is the perfect time for Vietnam to start its own global car company. It sees this historical shift towards electrification as an all-new playing field, which gives new players a chance to enter the market.
Following its decision to build cars, Vingroup erected a 3,350 000 square meter assembly plant on an island just outside Haiphong in northeast Vietnam. It then secured deals with BMW and General Motors to sell rebadged versions of the BMW 5 Series, BMW X5 and Chevrolet Spark under license, as well as establishing a relationship with Samsung for battery cell technology.
Two new electric SUVs lead the way
VinFast VF 8 and VF 9 electric SUVs | Photo: VinFast
At the 2021 Los Angeles auto show, VinFast unveiled the VF 8 and VF 9 electric SUVs with promises that these will be the first models to hit our market. Designed by Pininfarina and sitting in midsize and full-size segments, the VF 8 and VF 9 would be sold under a battery subscription service, a first here in North America.
A few months later, the company announced a 6.5-billion-dollar investment in North Carolina for a state-of-the-art assembly plant that’ll be operational as of 2024.
VinFast is, excuse the pun, moving fast. Here's a full breakdown of what to expect from its lineup in the years to come.
VinFast Canada model lineup
VinFast VF 8 – mid-size SUV
VinFast VF 8 electric SUV| Photo: VinFast
The VF 8 is the first vehicle that’ll be sold under the VinFast nameplate this fall. Scheduled as a 2023 model, it slots between a compact and a midsize SUV, and priced between a Volkswagen ID.4 and a Tesla Model Y.
Canada Drives went to Vietnam to test the all-new VF 8 – read our full story and driving impressions here: 2022 VinFast VF 8 First Drive Review
VF 8 specs & range
It’ll come by default with dual motor all-wheel drive, with horsepower and torque ranging between two trim levels. A VF 8 Eco pumps out 348 horsepower and 368 lb-ft, while a Plus cranks things up to 402 horsepower 457 lb-ft.
When the VF 8 will arrive on our market, it’ll be powered by an 82 kWh (usable) battery, with range varying between 460 km for an Eco and 510 km for a Plus as per WLTP protocols. We’re still waiting on official EPA data. In 2023, a second battery “Variant” will be added to the lineup, with range varying between 447 and 471 km, says VinFast.
VinFast VF 8 electric SUV| Photo: VinFast
VF 8 Canadian price
As for pricing, the VF 8 Eco with the Variant 1 battery costs $50,850, and $51 250 with the Variant 2 battery. The VF 8 Plus sells for $58,350 with the Variant 1 and $59,750 with the Variant 2. Customers must then lease their battery through a subscription plan that is either fixed or variable.
A fixed plan for a VF 8 costs $139 per month and grants the user unlimited kilometers, while the variable plan costs $39 a month with a 500-km a month cap. Each additional kilometer then costs $0.09.
VinFast then covers the battery with a lifetime warranty, will take care of recycling dead batteries, and even offers a free replacement if the battery degrades past 70%. The cars themselves are all backed by a 10-year, 200,000-kilometer warranty.
VinFast VF 9 – 7-seater SUV
VinFast VF 9 electric SUV| Photo: VinFast
The VF 9 is scheduled to hit the Canadian market late 2022, also as a 2023 model. It’s a much larger SUV than the VF 8, sitting more in a midsize to full-size space, with seating up to seven passengers. Details on this model are still somewhat scarce, but VinFast did release a few specifications.
VF 9 specs & range
It utilizes a larger, 92 kWh (usable) battery which also powers two motors, for standard all-wheel drive. And just like its little brother, it can be had in an Eco or Plus version. Horsepower and torque however stay the same for both trims, at 402 horsepower and 457 lb-ft respectively.
As for range, a VF 9 Eco with the Variant 1 battery will cover up to 438 km on a single charge and 594 km with the Variant 2 battery. The VF 9 Plus Variant 1 is rated at 423 km, while the Variant 2 gets 580 km, again, according to WLTP protocols.
VF 9 Canadian price
Pricing for that one will kick off at $69,150 for an Eco with the Variant 1 battery and $69,750 with the Variant 2. A VF 9 Plus will cost $75,650 in Variant 1 and $76,250 in Variant 2. Its fixed battery subscription plan costs $199 a month, while the monthly fee for the variable plan is $59. Each additional kilometer costs $0.11.
VF 5, VF 6 and VF 7 – more electric SUVs coming
By 2024, VinFast hopes to have a full lineup of electric vehicles on our market, just in time for its all-new assembly plant which will build them in the US. Technical details on these models are now non-existent, but the carmaker has already given them names: inevitably, they’ll be called VF 5, VF 6 and VF 7.
They will all be SUVs that’ll range from sub compact to midsize. One of them, the VF 7, even looks like a lifted station wagon. We’ll tell you more about these upcoming VinFast models once the carmaker releases more information on them.
Shopping for an SUV? Take a quick look at our inventory of used, certified sport utilities and crossovers here.