A five-year effort to develop a Southeast Asian hub for the North American and European markets has ended with VinFast shipping its first batches of EV to the US.

A starting price of $40,700 is included in the shipment of the all-electric VF 8s. The company expects to give the first cars to customers by the end of the year. Most of the vehicles will end up in the hands of retail customers.

A milestone for the automotive industry in Vietnam.

The export of the first VF 8s is a significant event for VinFast and Vingroup and a proud historical milestone for the Vietnam automotive industry. Vietnam has produced high quality electric vehicles that are ready to compete in the international market.

There will be a second shipment of cars in January. The VF 8 and VF 9 are SUVs, as well as the VF 5, VF 6, and VF 7 which were designed by Pininfarina and Torino Design. The company has sculpted bodies and other styling details for a family look.

VinFast wants to eventually make cars in the US with plans to open a plant in North Carolina in 2020. The company hopes to qualify for a US tax credit for local production.

The challenges are still there. The North Carolina factory project is behind schedule and the first shipment of EV built by VinFast was short of the initial goal to deliver as many as 5,000 cars by December. VinFast chose the number of vehicles in its first shipment because it is lucky in Vietnam.