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VinFast’s Shift in Distribution Model Draws Attention and Caution

by Anna

Vietnamese electric-vehicle manufacturer VinFast has captured both caution and interest within the automotive industry with its recent shift in how it plans to distribute its cars in the U.S. market. While the company initially followed Tesla’s direct-to-consumer approach, it has now announced its intention to sell through dealers as well, leading to mixed reactions among potential dealers.

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VinFast, which has already shipped close to 3,000 vehicles to North America since late last year, has revealed that it wants to adopt a hybrid distribution model that combines both direct-to-consumer sales and dealership partnerships. This change comes at a time when the company is riding the waves of its recent Nasdaq debut, which initially resulted in soaring share prices and an impressive market valuation of $85 billion.

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Dealers in the U.S. have shown cautious optimism toward VinFast’s new strategy. While several dealers expressed openness to the idea, they also emphasized the need for more detailed information from VinFast, including specifics about the sales strategy, dealer requirements, parts distribution plans, and vehicle warranties.

George Glassman, President of Glassman Automotive Group, pointed out, “Is there room for more brands? Yeah, there probably is. It’s just too early to tell.” Dealers are keen to understand how VinFast will handle key aspects such as parts distribution for repairs, as well as the potential benefits and risks of partnering with a relatively new entrant in the EV market.

VinFast’s CEO Le Thi Thu Thuy highlighted the necessity of a strong collaborative approach in the automotive industry. “Opening our own stores is great but it takes a lot of time,” she noted. “Joining forces with other partners to go faster has always been our nature.” The company intends to utilize its existing showrooms while partnering with dealers to expand its presence in North America and other global markets.

As the electric vehicle market continues to evolve, VinFast faces substantial challenges. The company’s decision to shift to a hybrid distribution model reflects its determination to accelerate growth and establish a strong foothold in the competitive EV landscape. However, the ultimate success of this strategy will depend on VinFast’s ability to address the concerns of potential dealers and build lasting relationships that drive both innovation and customer satisfaction.

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