While EV sales in the U.S. continue to climb, demand for those types of models has also trailed expected levels as of late, largely due to high prices. However, Blue Oval brass is well aware that this isn’t the case in China, where customers continue to enjoy more and cheaper all-electric vehicle options, to the point where its own Ford Mustang Mach-E has found that particular market to be difficult to compete in. At the same time, Ford CEO Jim Farley and Chairman Bill Ford have long warned that Chinese EVs pose a major threat to American ones, though in the meantime, the automaker has a rival from Vietnam to contend with – VinFast – which just opened its first franchised U.S.-based dealership, according to Automotive News.
VinFast teamed up with Leith Automotive Group to open its first franchised U.S. dealership in Cary, North Carolina, which will accompany its existing company stores in California. The dealership just opened last week and is located around 20 miles from the EV automaker’s future production facility, which is expected to begin operating in 2025. Currently, the brand sells just one model – the VF 8 crossover – but plans to expand its list of offerings to a full lineup in the U.S. and Canada in the coming years.
“After interacting with VinFast’s executive team and experiencing their vehicles firsthand, we were captivated by the brand and knew it was a perfect addition,” said Danny Williams, COO at Leith Automotive Group, which has 37 locations in the state covering 24 automotive brands. “North Carolina has tried to get an automobile manufacturer for decades. And the government really stepped up, helped get it here, so it’s going to be great for our economy.”
The new dealership already has around 60 units of the VF 8 available for sale, but this is just the beginning of an ambitious plan to expand the VinFast sales network in the U.S. In fact, the company plans to have 125 franchised dealerships in operation in the U.S. by the end of 2024, taking a far different strategy compared to Rivian and Tesla, which only sell vehicles directly to customers and not through a third party.