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VinFast

VinFast Battery Subscription Price Increase Explained

Increased material costs drive price bump

  • VinFast recently increased prices for its vehicles and battery subscriptions in North America.
  • The Vietnamese automaker cites material cost increases for the pricing update.
  • Two EVs — the VF8 and VF9 — are scheduled to reach U.S. shores by end of year.

Vietnamese automaker VinFast is hitting the marketing circuit hard, pumping up the news of its upcoming all-electric VF 8 and VF 9 SUVs. The company announced it would establish six VinFast showrooms in California — following Tesla's sales model of avoiding inventory accumulation — and is planning for delivery by the end of the year.

Even before those first models reach the beaches of the Golden State, VinFast has increased prices of both vehicles. As reported by blog Drive Tesla Canada, the VinFast website shows the price of the base VF 8 in Canada has increased by $3,740, from $51,250 to $54,990. In the U.S., the company increased the price of the VF 8 by $1,500 from $40,700 to $42,200. If that dizzying alphanumeric soup gives you pause, just wait until you hear about the battery subscription prices. That's right: VinFast vehicles are like toys that arrive with the label "battery not included" — an unusual new way to sell new EVs. 

VinFast

Flexible subscription plan ditched

Back in April, the automaker announced its battery subscription prices for the VF 8 and VF 9 in the U.S. VinFast put forward two subscription plans called "flexible" and "fixed" packages, the first intended for customers who travel infrequently and the second for more frequent users.

For the smaller VF 8, for instance, the flexible package was to cost $35 per month, which allowed for up to 310 miles of driving each month. Every mile after that would cost 11 cents. The three-row VF 9's pricing structure was set at $44 a month, with each mile after 310 costing 15 cents. Rates for the monthly fixed subscription with unlimited range were priced at $110 for the VF 8 and $160 for the VF 9.

"By separating the price of the battery from the acquisition value of the automobile, VinFast can ensure a reasonable price for its products while reducing the risks related to the vehicle's battery," the company explained at the time. "Customers are also protected with the lifetime battery warranty covering all maintenance, repair and free battery replacement when charging capacity dips below 70 [percent]."

VinFast

Hold the phone, though, because as of this month those monthly prices have increased to $169 for the VF 8 and $219 for the VF 9 for the fixed plan. The flexible plan, as far as we can tell, is now kaput. Plus, sometime in the last week or so, VinFast slipped a new option into the mix: battery purchase. And it's not cheap.

Per the VinFast site, buyers can add $14,800 to the cost of the VF 8 or $18,500 to the VF 9 price if they want to purchase the battery outright. It raises the question of why the company is citing the MSRP without the battery and reminds us of Tesla's infamous default pricing display, which takes "Potential Savings" of filling up with electricity rather than gasoline into account.

VinFast

Dangling a lifetime-guarantee carrot

The nascent automaker, which enjoys the support of a mega-conglomerate parent company, is hoping to entice customers with a generous lifetime battery warranty for vehicles involved in the subscription program. On top of that, buyers who reserve a vehicle before the end of this calendar year lock in the rates for that subscription package, and those rates can be passed on to the next owner.

Apple has made an entire business model out of leasing its products and keeping its customers on a leash with enticements of the latest technology. Automakers like VinFast seem to be taking a page from that playbook, gambling on buyers' attraction to monthly payments versus buying the whole thing at once.

VinFast

Edmunds says

We've seen significant price increases for many EVs this year as a result of rising material costs, and VinFast is no exception. What remains to be seen, however, is consumer uptake and perception of value of the battery subscription model.