By Phuong Nguyen
HANOI (Reuters) – 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, according to the company’s website and emails to customers reviewed by Reuters.
The Vietnamese company, 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. The company 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.
VinFast did not immediately have a comment on the pricing.
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.
VinFast shipped its 999 EVs to California late last year. Those cars have not yet been made available to buyers.
The company has filed for an initial public offering in the United States and plans to build an EV assembly factory in North Carolina.
(Additional reporting by Kevin Krolicki in Singapore; Editing by Sam Holmes)