By Peter Valdes-Dapena, CNN
(CNN) — VinFast, a Vietnamese electric vehicles maker that only recently entered the United States market, revealed plans Tuesday to go after America’s popular pickup market.
At the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Vinfast unveiled the VF Wild, a mid-sized electric pickup. Although the VF Wild is officially a concept vehicle, VinFast executives indicated they intend to put a truck like it into production.
“This is not just a new product in our offering — it showcases our aspiration to venture into the fast-paced and thriving electric pickup truck market,” Tran Mai Hoa, VinFast’s deputy chief executive for sales and marketing said in an announcement.
The VF Wild is a little shorter, bumper to bumper, than a Toyota Tacoma or Ford Ranger mid-sized pickup. Similar to other modern mid-size pickups, it has four doors, two rows of seats and a cargo bed that’s about five feet long.
The back wall of the passenger compartment of the VF Wild, though, can fold down leaving it open to the cargo bed in the back. When the back wall of the passenger compartment opens up, the back seats also fold down, allowing items as long as eight feet to be carried in the combined cab and cargo bed. This is similar to a feature General Motors currently offers on its Chevrolet Silverado EV electric pickup.
The VF Wild’s small size means it won’t be competing directly against full-sized electric pickups like the Silverado EV, Ford F-150 Lightning and the Tesla Cybertruck. It’s also smaller than the Rivian R1T.
VinFast also showed off a subcompact electric SUV, the VF 3, that the company currently sells in Vietnam but which will also be coming to the US market.
The squarish two-door VF 3 is extremely small, even smaller than other subcompact vehicles currently on sale in the US. It’s considerably shorter, front to back, than a Kia Rio or Nissan Versa. VinFast promises “ample” interior space, however.
It’s extremely small size limits the number of battery cells it can carry, though so the VF 3 can only go about 125 miles on a charge, according to the automaker. That’s less than a lot of EVs currently on the market.
VinFast did not disclose pricing for the VF 3.
VinFast has faced some issues in the US market. Its first vehicle offered for sale here, the VF 8 luxury, received some scathing early reviews from prominent auto critics. In response, VinFast later said it had made improvements to the vehicle based on some of the journalists’ comments.
Founded in 2017 as part of Vietnam’s Vingroup, a conglomerate that’s involved in everything from theme parks to real estate, hospitals and data management, VinFast quickly focused solely on electric vehicles.
The company is currently building a factory in North Carolina to supply electric vehicles for the American market.
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