Vietnamese automaker VinFast to start selling EVs in Thailand

Vietnamese automaker VinFast to start selling EVs in Thailand

BANGKOK (AP) – Automaker VinFast announced Tuesday that it plans to sell its electric cars in Thailand and said it had tied up with car dealers to open showrooms in the country.

VinFast, which only started exporting its EVs last year, faces stiff competition in Thailand from Chinese automakers like BYD. Tesla too soon entered the fight. All were showing off their latest models at the Bangkok International Motor Show.

The Thai EV market is small but growing fast, fueled by incentives and subsidies from the government. The country of more than 70 million people plans to convert 30% of the 2.5 million cars it makes each year to EVs by 2030.

VinFast expects to start selling its electric motorcycles and electric SUVs in the country within the next two months, Vu Dang Yen Hang, chief executive officer of VinFast Thailand, told The Associated Press.

Details on pricing and purchasing of the EVs are likely to be released later this year.

Thailand accounted for 58% of all EV sales in Southeast Asia in 2022, ahead of Vietnam and Indonesia, according to market research firm Counterpoint Research. But the EV market remains small, accounting for just 0.5% of global EV sales in 2022.

Thailand is trying to change this situation with incentives to promote the production and sale of EVs, such as lowering excise duties and paying subsidies to make them more competitive.

VinFast has set a goal to sell its cars in 50 markets around the world by the end of 2024.

Initially it will rely on existing charging manufacturers in Thailand, but the long-term plan was to work together with V-Green, a company that builds EV charging stations and is owned by VinFast’s parent company, Hang said.

“We will work together with (V-Green) to build infrastructure for our customers in Thailand who use our vehicles,” he said.

V-Green launched this month and plans to spend $404 million over the next two years to build VinFast charging stations in different countries. Like VinFast, it is part of the conglomerate Vingroup, which started as an instant noodle company in Ukraine in the 1990s. It was founded and run by Vietnam’s richest man, Pham Nhat Vuong.

VinFast’s foray into Thailand is part of an international expansion that has included sales of EVs to the US. The company is building EV factory in North Carolina, where production is expected to begin later in the year. Another one The factory is being built in Indiaand is planning another in Indonesia.

VinFast has started shipping EVs made in Vietnam to neighboring Laos to supply vehicles to Green SM, an EV taxi company that is mostly owned by VinFast founder Vuong.

Last year, the company listed its shares in August on the Nasdaq, where they initially rose, pushing its market value briefly above that of General Motors Corp. and Ford Motor Co. But investor interest has waned and the company lost more than $1.4 billion in the first three quarters of 2023.

VinFast has struggled to sell its EVs in the US and its early vehicles have received poor reviews, but the company maintains that if it can succeed in the crowded and competitive American market, it can succeed anywhere.


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