Vietnamese car company Vinfast is facing criticism from American car buyers after it revealed the model it is shipping out is quite different than initially advertised.
The EV company previously announced that it is shipping out two versions of its five-seater SUV called the VF 8.
Both versions – the Eco and Plus – come with an advanced driver assistance system that features highway assist, lane changing assist and smart parking assist.
The Eco variant will reportedly come with a maximum electric motor power of 260 kilowatts and battery life that can last for up to 420 kilometers (approximately 261 miles) at full charge, with a torque of 500 Newton-meters.
Meanwhile, the Plus version will have an increased maximum electric motor power of 300 kilowatts, a full-charge range of around 400 kilometers (approximately 249 miles) and a higher torque of 620 Newton meters.
The initial batch of 999 automobiles was shipped from Vietnam on Nov. 25 and is due to arrive in California before the end of December.
Reservation holders of the electric SUVs were surprised to receive an email from the company on Nov. 29, however, notifying them that VF 8s in the initial shipment will be a special “City Edition.” The previously unannounced variant has a total full-charge range of only 290 kilometers (180 miles).
Vinfast later confirmed to Dot.LA the vehicles the company shipped out in the first batch are all the City variants. According to the company, the standard edition is set to arrive sometime in the first quarter of 2023.
The email the reservation holders received did not explain why the company shipped out a different version than the initially promised Eco and Plus variants that come in the 260-292 mile range. Depending on the trim, the City version can be purchased at either $55,500 or $62,500, which are just about $3,000 less than the versions with significantly higher ranges.
Those who reserved will get an additional $3,000 off if they choose to purchase the City variant, which brings its total to $6,000 less than the originally advertised versions.
Vinfast’s $52,000 price for its City Edition appears to be significantly steeper compared to the more established EV brands in the market, most of which range below $50,000.
On Reddit, Vinfast’s apparent push for its City variant and the lack of transparency have enraged many potential buyers.
“My question is why did vinfast spring this on us?” a user asked. “Why just a 180-mile range estimate? Why no battery lease? I’m so not in a hurry to get this trim; I just hope all 999 VF8s on the way aren’t THIS trim.”
“My concern is the high price and being forced to buy the battery,” another Redditor wrote. “No thanks. I’m good if they drop the price by a lot. The estimated range is fine for me as a daily commute vehicle. But NOT at that price.”
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