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Vietnam's VinFast takes the EV battle to Tesla with U.S. push

Will bold plan for American sales, production and IPO pay off for challenger?

VinFast showed off its VF9 electric SUV at CES 2022 in Las Vegas in January.   © Reuters

TOKYO -- VinFast, the auto unit of Vietnam's biggest conglomerate, has surprised everyone with its sudden moves to establish a foothold in the U.S. electric vehicle market. Depending on who you ask, the push is either a bold attempt to become the next Tesla, or a quixotic, costly effort that will end in failure.

VinFast unveiled several electric vehicles at CES, the world's biggest consumer electronics and technology expo, in Las Vegas in January and started taking preorders. Two months later it said it would start making EVs in the U.S. in 2024, building a $2 billion plant with an annual capacity of 150,000 cars in North Carolina.

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