VinFast Is Going For It Anyway
Way back at the VinFast VF8's first press event in Vietnam, Kevin Williams told us all just how much work the car needed. Last week, a slew of U.S. journalists got to drive it, and all said pretty much the same thing: It’s just not ready. But VinFast, it seems, doesn’t care about things like “reviews” or “word of mouth”—the company is determined to press on with its North American launch plans.
Speaking with Automotive News, VinFast’s North American CEO Van Anh Nguyen reaffirmed the company’s commitment to launching three more cars in the U.S. this year. She also seemed to reference the overwhelmingly poor reviews from the VF8's launch event, dismissing them as “noise:”
“When you’re committed to your plan and have the means to execute your plan, then you just do it instead of listening to so much noise,” Nguyen said. “The North American market has a lot of conditions for us to launch the brand here and make it the most important market for us.”
The North American market is, assuredly, an important one in global car sales. But one would think that the market’s importance would lead automakers to fine-tune their vehicles for it, and take the time to ensure that every launch goes as well as possible. VinFast, instead, seems to have the utmost confidence in its cars—perhaps too much to justify. Nguyen said as much, again to Automotive News:
“When people know about us, know who we are, know about our product, I think they will like it,” Nguyen said during a media event in San Diego. “There will be more reservations and orders when the brand awareness is higher in this market, when people know about us more,” she said.
Is brand awareness really VinFast’s biggest problem, when seemingly every person who’s aware of the brand wasn’t impressed at all by the experience of driving its vehicles? The company still has time to pause, reevaluate its upcoming offerings, and make adjustments to the VF6, VF7, and VF9 that will make them truly competitive in this market. With this attitude, however, that doesn’t seem likely.
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