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Vinfast, the Vietnamese electric vehicle company operating out of Los Angeles, announced Friday that it would go public via a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) in a deal valued at $27 billion. The company has been talking about going public in the United States for months now, and the massive valuation would make this the third largest SPAC deal ever, according to Bloomberg. Whether or not the merger with Hong Kong-based Black Spade Acquisition Co. is worth the price remains to be seen. But the news comes amid a torrent of negative reviews panning the company’s first electric vehicle for sale in the United States, the VF 8.
While dot.LA has not had the opportunity to demo the car (if you’re reading, we’d love to, Vinfast), the word around the web is brutally negative.
“The VF8, as it sits, is not ready for public consumption. Once word of these problems gets around, either from reviews like this one or owners or both, it's going to savage the company's reputation in America before anyone here has even heard of it.”
-Road & Track
“Why Vinfast is intent on rushing this car to market is beyond me. If it would just slow down a bit, take the time to fix the problems we all experienced, it might actually have a decent car. As it stands now, the VF 8 City Edition will do nothing except earn Vinfast a bad reputation, one that might take decades to shake.”
-Green Car Reports
The list goes on…
While many reviewers did take the time to praise the car’s styling and paint, others reported various elements of the vehicles simply didn’t work. The Green Car Reports reviewer said that in the model they tested, none of the driver safety features worked, including “blind-spot monitors, automatic emergency braking, traffic sign recognition, active lane control.” Scott Evans at MotorTrend, reported that both the HVAC system and the built in navigation didn’t work in his demo car. Steve Ewing at InsideEVs, said the suspension was so bad that he got car sick for the first time in his life.
For a new and untested foreign brand trying to make a good first impression, reviews like these are likely to become a major obstacle. dot.LA has written previously about how VF 8’s meager specs don’t justify it’s $49,000+ price tag, but with the reviews coming in now it seems the only thing the car has going for it, is its excellent 10-year, 125,000-mile warranty. A selling point that drivers might be forced to use more than they’d like to.
The good news for Vinfast is that between its billionaire backer Phạm Nhật Vượng, and the new SPAC cash, the company should have deep enough pockets to buy some time to right the ship. That said, the VF 8’s flop certainly makes a comeback an uphill battle. If Vinfast wants to excel in the States, it will likely need to make major improvements for its next models, the VF 6 and VF 7, which are expected to go on sale in 2024.
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