(Updates with comment from company, background)
HANOI, Feb 3 (Reuters) - Vietnam's electric automaker VinFast said on Friday it will delay deliveries to its first customers in the United States to the second half of February after it finishes updating the vehicles with the latest software.
The Vietnamese company, a unit of conglomerate Vingroup JSC , is gearing up to expand in the United State, where it hopes to compete with existing automakers.
It started to ship its first 999 electric vehicles (EVs) in November last year, but has not delivered them to customers yet after the company initially targetted December deliveries.
"The cars have been updated with the latest software. We are planning to hand over the first VF8 vehicle models to customers in the second half of February," VinFast said in a statement.
"The second batch will be shipped to the U.S. in the second quarter of 2023," the statement said, without specifying the size of the lot.
VinFast said it secured 55,000 orders globally as of December last year, of which 12,000 are from the U.S. market. It delivered over 4,000 EVs to customers domestically in December, more than half of which were the sports utility vehicle VF8 model.
VinFast last week announced new pricing promotions for the U.S. market to protect the market competitiveness of its models, following Tesla's similar programmes.
The Vietnamese automaker plans to build an EV plant in the U.S. state of North Carolina and is awaiting final regulatory approval from local officials. (Reporting by Phuong Nguyen; Editing by Kanupriya Kapoor and Ed Davies)