Vietnamese electric car maker VinFast Auto (Nasdaq: VFS), which made its IPO on Nasdaq last week and is now traded at a market cap of $86 billion, is expected to start selling its vehicles in Israel and Europe this year. "Globes" has learned that, within the past few days, the company completed compliance checks with the full European WVTA standard for its VF8 electric crossover, and that it should obtain similar approval for its larger VF9 model by the end of the year.
WVTA certification enables VinFast to sell electric cars in Europe without limitation on quantity, and it amounts to a breakthrough for the company, which up to now had sold only a small quantity of vehicles in the US. VinFast was supposed to have obtained WVTA certification last year, but encountered various technical and financial delays in the process.
Sources inform "Globes" that the first vehicle of the Vietnamese company compliant with the European standard will reach Israel in the coming weeks for certification and import approval by the Ministry of Transport. A first commercial consignment is expected to arrive before the end of the year, among other things in order to beat the rise in purchase tax on electric vehicles due to come into force on January 1, 2024. Israel will apparently be one of the first markets in the world in which VinFast vehicles will be on regular sale.
Price competitive with Tesla
The first vehicle of the brand expected in Israel is the VF8 crossover, 4.75 meters long, 1.93 meters wide, and 1.67 meters high, on a 2.95 meter wheelbase. It will be sold in two versions with the European standard, both with two motors and double propulsion, with a combined output of 408 or 354 horsepower, depending on the version.
The vehicle has an 87 kilowatt battery, with a range of 447 or 471 kilometers, depending on the version.
Prices for this model in Germany are expected to start at €50,000 for the basic version, reaching €58,000 for the long-range version. These prices are several thousand euros lower than the prices of the equivalent versions of Tesla’s Model Y.
At this stage, it is not known what the prices will be in Israel, but they will probably range from NIS 230,000 for the basic version to about NIS 280,000 for the long-range version.
By December, the 5.12-meter long VF9 model is expected to arrive, with the same propulsion system as the VF8, but with a 123 kilowatt capacity battery and a range of up to 600 kilometers. This model will be substantially dearer.
The holder of the Israeli import license for VinFast is BE-V Motors, founded by Niv Oron and Barak Cohen, who previously managed the Audi and BMW brands, together with Novard Group, headed by chairman Major General (res.) Yoav "Poly" Mordechai and CEO Shay Beitner.
Last week, Carasso Motors (TASE: CRSM) completed the purchase of 50% of B-EV after the preconditions for the deal, which was announced last year, were fulfilled. One of the conditions was completion of European standard certification for at least one VinFast model. Carasso Motors paid NIS 25 million, and committed to injecting a total of up to NIS 50 million loan capital into B-EV , in accordance with a valuation mechanism agreed between the sides. Carasso’s holding in B-EV will not exceed 50%.
Jewel in the crown of the free trade agreement
In late July, Israel and Vietnam signed a free trade agreement, under which customs duty on vehicle imports is set at 7% plus VAT.
Sources in the Ministry of Economy and Industry told "Globes" that, during a visit by Vietnamese Minister of Trade and Industry Nguyen Hong Dien to Israel for the signing of the free trade agreement, representatives of the Vietnamese side said that they saw exports of VinFast vehicles to Israel as "one of the jewels in the crown of implementation of the agreement". The Vietnamese minister visited the brand’s showroom in central Israel.
VinFast’s market cap doubles in a day
As mentioned, last week VinFast successfully completed its flotation on Nasdaq. On Tuesday, its share price shot up 108%, despite the fact that it had not released any news.
It is believed that one of the reasons for the stock taking off was the receipt of European certification and the company’s imminent expansion in Europe, which had not been officially announced.
Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on August 24, 2023.
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