Vietnamese electric vehicle maker VinFast finally delivered its first cars to US customers on Wednesday, the first purchases of the vehicles outside the Southeast Asian country.
The company, which is a subsidiary of the Vingroup conglomerate, had shipped 999 vehicles to California in November but faced more than two months of costly delays in preparing them for delivery.
VinFast had faced anger from early reservation holders when it admitted the initial shipment of VF8 cars would have a lower battery range than the company had flagged in marketing.
With its initial vehicle deliveries stalled, VinFast cut dozens of jobs in the United States and Canada and merged those operations earlier this year.
VinFast said on Wednesday the VF8 City Edition Eco, a rebranded version of the car to account for its lower range, would have an EPA estimated battery range of 207 miles (333 km).
The first 45 cars were available for lease through US Bancorp, VinFast said. Vehicle subscription service Autonomy has a deal to purchase 2,500 vehicles from VinFast, the companies said last year.
The automaker is looking to compete with established carmakers at a time when major rivals, led by Tesla, are driving prices down and bringing a range of new EVs to market.
Analysts say quarterly results from US electric vehicle startups, Rivian and electric semi truck maker Nikola, all reflected pressure from lower orders, higher interest rates and increased competition.
The company is waiting for final regulatory approval to begin construction of a $4-billion plant in North Carolina.
- Reuters with additional editing by Sean O’Meara