Vietnam’s version of the Tesla has begun its American journey on West Coast freeways.
VinFast has landed its first batch of 999 electric vehicles and opened its first six showrooms in Class A malls and lifestyle centers in California. Four more have been completed and stand-alone showrooms are planned for high-income urban locations in downtown San Francisco and Santa Barbara.
“A big factor in VinFast’s site selection criteria was to be in places with high, steady foot traffic and EV clientele, which more often than not meant Class A malls and lifestyle centers,” said Bonnie Russo, a project architect at MBH, the architectural firm in charge of designing the showrooms.
More than 30 VinFast showrooms—ranging in size from 2,000 to 5,000 sq. ft.--are planned for The Golden State, and the company has its expansion eyes set on New York and Florida.
Most of centers where VinFast will be found already house Tesla or Lucid showrooms or both—though the Vietnamese entry intends to compete more with the lower-priced Model 3 and Y Teslas than the six-figure Lucids. One of the reasons VinFast chose MBH as its architectural firm was that it designed Tesla’s showrooms.
“The brand’s positioning is close to Tesla’s,” Russo said. “VinFast wants to be accessible to mostly everyone.”
Interior designs of the showrooms evoke VinFast’s Vietnamese roots with native wood and floor-to-ceiling graphics of rolling hills and peak-studded harbors.
Next on the construction schedule for the EV newcomer will be 10,000-to-30,000-sq. ft. service centers that will present smaller showrooms and car delivery hubs alongside the larger maintenance space.
The first 10 VinFast showrooms can be found in Berkeley and at Santa Monica Place, Westfield UTC, Citadel Outlets, Hillsdale Shopping Center, The Village at Corte Madera, Waterside at Marina del Rey, Irvine Spectrum Center, Westfield Topanga Village, and Del Amo Fashion Center.
The first service centers, some of which have broken ground, will be in San Francisco, San Mateo, West Covina, and Burbank.