VinFast’s difficulties lie in the fact that drivers in Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, and Brunei all drive on the left side of the road, which means the steering wheel must be on the right side of the car.
According to Nikkei, VinFast’s latest ambition is to sell electric cars throughout Southeast Asia. However, a challenge for VinFast in pursuing this ambition is the issue of right-hand drive.
VinFast has not specifically shared which Southeast Asian countries they are targeting, but drivers in Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, and Brunei all drive on the left side of the road, which means the steering wheel must be on the right side of the car.
VinFast’s initial expansion plan in Asia is to be profitable by 2025 and to have an IPO on the New York Stock Exchange. Vingroup founder Pham Nhat Vuong stated at a recent shareholders’ meeting that VinFast will be able to break even within the next two years.
To support its funding activities, VinFast recently announced its intention to list on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) through a merger with a Special Purpose Acquisition Company (SPAC). VinFast has also received sponsorship from Pham Nhat Vuong and Vingroup.
VinFast’s electric vehicles arrived in Canada this week after being delayed for their debut in California in March, becoming the first Vietnamese cars to be driven on American streets.
VinFast acknowledges that they are entering challenging markets and, therefore, they receive various feedback from drivers. In an email sent to Nikkei, the company stated that they have models with extended operating ranges and have received 5-star safety ratings from the New Car Assessment Program for Southeast Asia.
“Most product reviews are balanced and positive, with feedback highlighting the stylish exterior, modern interior, stable performance, and abundant technological features,” said VinFast’s spokesperson. Regarding other feedback, the spokesperson said, “We acknowledge and will gradually improve. VinFast is continuously improving itself to provide customers with high-quality products and exceptional services.”
In addition to aiming to attract European customers, VinFast’s breakthrough in Southeast Asia also brings larger market opportunities, particularly in neighboring countries such as Indonesia and Thailand, where the penetration of automobiles is higher. However, they also face intense competition from automotive giants in those markets and even within Vietnam.
VinFast dominates the small electric car market in Vietnam, but Chinese competitors such as BYD and Hongguang Mini are also entering the market with prices starting from only $4,500 per car and being praised as perfect means of “replacing walking.” Last month, VinFast announced that their cheapest electric car would be priced at $23,000.