Vietnam-based electric vehicle startup, VinFast, says it plans to sell two EVs in Canada through a direct-to-consumer sales model starting next year.
VinFast unveiled the mid-size VF e35 crossover, as well as the full-size VF e36 three-row crossover this week at the Los Angeles Auto Show. The automaker is targeting a range of up to 510 km for the VF e35 and up to 680 km for the larger e36. Canadian pricing has yet to be announced, although Hans Ulsrud, chief growth officer of VinFast Canada, told Automotive News Canada the brand’s products will occupy a “mid-price range.”
Vinfast will sell the VF e35 and VF e36 through a direct-to-consumer sales model similar to Tesla’s. The company plans to open boutique studio showrooms in malls and other high foot traffic areas of major Canadian city centres, such as Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver. Consumers visiting the showrooms will be able to familiarize themselves with the company’s vehicles and sign up for test drive opportunities.
“We’re looking to open studios, or showrooms in very high traffic locations … and be right in the mall with millions of people passing by every year, to share about VinFast and [parent company] Vingroup, to really educate people,” Ulsrud said.
Canadian VinFast owners will be able to get their vehicles serviced at a separate VinFast-owned service location, or at home through the company’s mobile maintenance and repair service. Ulsrud said the automaker is planning to open a total of 38 retail and service locations in Canada before the end of 2023, all of which will be located in either Quebec, Ontario or British Columbia.
The first Canadian VinFast studio showroom will open in the second quarter of 2022, likely in Montreal, Toronto or Vancouver, Ulsrud said. However, the first service centre location will not open in this country until the fourth quarter of the year, with initial vehicle deliveries not expected to commence until the end of Q4.
“We may open the showroom component first,” Ulsrud said. “At first we just want to expose as many people to the brand as quickly as possible.”
Consumers will be able to place a pre-order for the VF e35 or VFe36 closer to the opening of the automaker’s first studio showrooms in the second quarter of next year.