Automaker VinFast has debuted three new battery-electric crossover models, including two which will be sold in Canada, and an innovative battery leasing program designed to mitigate upfront purchasing costs.
The Vietnam-based startup unveiled its new VF5, VF6 and VF7 crossovers at CES 2022 in Las Vegas last week, with the VF6 and VF7 models set to arrive in Canada in late 2023. The VF6 is a two-row subcompact crossover, while the VF7 is a slightly larger two-row compact crossover.
VinFast also confirmed name changes this week for its two-row VF e35 and three-row VF e36 crossovers, unveiled at last year’s Los Angeles Auto Show. The VF e35 will now be called the VF8 and the larger e36 will be called the VF9. The company confirmed previously the e35 and e36 would be the first VinFast models offered for sale in Canada, with the first examples set to arrive here before the end of the year.
U.S. pre-orders for the VF8 and VF9 opened this week, however Canadian pre-orders won’t open until later this year.
Hans Ulsrud, Chief Growth Officer of VinFast Canada, told Automotive News Canada pre-orders for these two initial models will likely open before the end of the first quarter. Pre-orders for the VF6 and VF7 will not open until early next year.
VinFast charges American customers a fully refundable deposit of US$200 USD to reserve their vehicle. The company has not disclosed how much the Canadian deposit fee will be.
American VinFast customers that place their pre-order between Jan. 5 and April 5, 2022 will be automatically signed up for the automaker’s VinFirst Pioneers early bird program. These customers will receive e-vouchers that they can then use toward the purchase price of their vehicle, which total US$3,000 for the VF8 and US$5,000 for the VF9. Customers will also receive a VinFirst non-fungible token stored on a cryptocurrency wallet, which allows VinFast to save reservation holders’ info using blockchain technology.
Ulsrud hopes to offer a similar NFT-based early bird rewards program to Canadian buyers once pre-orders open later this year.
“We’ll obviously offer the same benefits to Canadian consumers and VinFast Pioneers,” Ulsrud said. “So, we’ll take foreign exchange into account as well as some of the other benefits. We want to ensure Canadians are treated fairly just like the Americans.”
VinFast announced U.S. pricing for the VF8 and VF9 this week, as well. The VF8 will start at US$41,000, while the VF9 is priced from US$56,000.
These prices do not include the cost of the company’s innovative battery leasing program, which will charge customers a monthly fee to lease the vehicle’s battery pack – allowing buyers to sidestep some of the upfront purchase costs of an EV. The leased battery would also be automatically replaced under warranty if its charge capacity falls below 70 per cent of its original strength.
VinFast has not announced Canadian pricing for any of its vehicles. However, Ulsrud said the battery leasing program would carry over. Specifics of the battery leasing program for North America, including monthly rental fees and kilometre limits, are still being finalized.
VinFast plans to sell its vehicles in Canada through a direct-to-consumer sales model, with plans to open three retail locations in Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver this year.