VinFast Cuts Through Rebate Confusion With Cold, Hard Cash

David Shultz

David Shultz reports on clean technology and electric vehicles, among other industries, for dot.LA. His writing has appeared in The Atlantic, Outside, Nautilus and many other publications.

The Vinfast VF9 in the company's Santa Monica showroom
Coutrsy of VinFast

With the Inflation Reduction Act well on its way to being written into law, the calculus of which vehicles from which manufacturers will be eligible for the $7,500 rebates is pretty confusing. dot.LA has previously covered how the new law is set to upend the status quo, but the short version is the car and its battery need to be assembled in the United States and the rebates only apply to vehicles below certain price points. Individuals who make more than $150,000/yr or to households making more than $300,000/yr are also no longer eligible for the rebate. This has led to a flurry of customers trying to lock in buyers’ agreements with companies like Rivian and Fisker before the law becomes official.

Vinfast, the Vietnamese automaker that is trying to establish itself on US soil here in Los Angeles, has taken a different approach: Just give people the money.

In an email to customers, the company announced that anyone with a preorder will get $7,500 back, regardless of whether the vehicle eventually qualifies for the government rebate or not. The catch is that buyers will also need to sign a contract saying they will actually buy the car—a much more serious commitment than a refundable preorder. (On the other hand, Vinfast still hasn’t delivered any cars yet, so who knows if the company can even deliver on its end of such a contract. Presumably yes?)

It's a nice play from the EV hopeful as they try to build customer loyalty, and it also highlights just how confusing and tumultuous the new legislation has made this landscape. Without knowing the income level of all preorder customers, it’s unclear exactly how many rebates Vinfast could wind up having to cover, but since customers have to switch to a binding contract and actually buy the vehicle, the numbers will likely stay fairly low.

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