Vietnamese electric vehicle (EV) manufacturer VinFast has embarked on its initial collaboration with a U.S.-based dealer, establishing a partnership with North Carolina's Leith Automotive Group. This move signifies VinFast's ongoing efforts to bolster its sales presence in the competitive U.S. market, as confirmed by both companies.
VinFast, aiming to diversify its distribution model, has transitioned from a direct-to-consumer approach, similar to Tesla's, to a more inclusive “hybrid” model that incorporates dealers. The strategic partnership with Leith Automotive Group is aligned with this shift in approach, enabling VinFast to tap into the U.S. market with a nuanced distribution strategy.
The state of North Carolina is home to a substantial $4 billion VinFast manufacturing plant, anticipated to commence operations in 2026. As part of the collaboration, Leith Automotive Group, based in North Carolina, will not only serve as a sales point for VinFast vehicles but will also assume responsibility for repairs, maintenance, and the supply of necessary parts for VinFast's electric vehicles.
VinFast, established in 2017 and backed by Vietnam's leading conglomerate Vingroup (VIC.HM), initiated electric car deliveries in California in March and subsequently made its debut on the Nasdaq in late August. The company's strategic shift towards a hybrid distribution model aims to enhance its market reach and customer support infrastructure.
In a recent update, VinFast disclosed receiving 70 dealer applications across the United States. Pending approval, these applications would enable VinFast to distribute its electric vehicles through 125 sales points nationwide. This expansion into the American market occurs amidst an environment where EV pricing faces competitive pressures, predominantly driven by industry leader Tesla and various Chinese companies.
VinFast reported global sales of approximately 13,000 units in the second and third quarters of this year, with over half of these sales attributed to an affiliate company owned by its founder. The partnership with Leith Automotive Group marks a strategic milestone for VinFast as it navigates the dynamic landscape of the U.S. electric vehicle market.