VinFast slashes lease prices for first U.S. buyers, deliveries starting March 1

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HANOI — Vietnamese electric vehicle maker VinFast has cut the lease price for its first model shipped to the United States by more than 50% for its first customers in California, with delivery starting this week, according to the company and emails to customers reviewed by Reuters.

VinFast, a subsidiary of conglomerate Vingroup JSC, had said in January its first VF8 all-electric crossovers would be available to lease at a monthly payment of $599 for 24 months.

Its website showed as of Monday a monthly lease price of $399 for the vehicle for a 24-month lease.

VinFast told people who had already paid a refundable deposit on the car that the payment would be $274 per month in California, the first U.S. state to receive the vehicles, according to messages to those potential buyers reviewed by Reuters.

That amounts to a discount of between 33% and 54% from the initially advertised monthly lease price.

"This is our special offer to VinFast customers for the VF 8 City Edition models in order to stay competitive with other brands," VinFast said in a statement.

"We will officially deliver the VF 8 City Edition vehicles to customers on March 1," it said, without specifying the number of units in the 999 batch shipped to California late last year.

The move represents the latest sign of increased price competition by EV makers. Tesla, the global EV leader, cut prices globally by up to 20% in January, although it has increased prices on some models and in some markets by smaller margins since.

The Biden administration's EV credits, which took effect at the start of the year, have also changed the calculus for automakers and U.S. consumers.

Electric vehicles like those made by Tesla in North America qualify for a consumer tax credit of $7,500. Businesses, including the finance companies that underwrite car leases, can also claim a credit of up to $7,500 for EVs if the cars are sold by one of the companies certified by the IRS.

VinFast was not listed as one of the 39 "qualified manufacturers" on the IRS list as of Monday.

VinFast said earlier this month that US Bancorp would provide lease financing for the company's sales in the United States.

Vehicle subscription service Autonomy has a deal with VinFast to purchase 2,500 EVs, the companies said in November.

In a separate statement, VinFast's chairwoman Le Thi Thu Thuy said VinFast expected to deliver EVs in Canada, France, Germany and the Netherlands, following its deliveries in the U.S. market.

The VF 8 City Edition comes in both Eco and Plus trim with an EPA-rated range of 207 miles (333 km) and 191 miles (307 km) respectively, the company said.

The company has filed for an initial public offering in the United States and plans to build an EV assembly factory in North Carolina.