Vietnam’s VinFast recalls the first batch of US-bound electric cars over safety risks

HANOI, May 25 (Reuters) – Vietnamese electric car maker VinFast said it is recalling all the first batches of vehicles shipped to the United States last year following a safety warning issued by U.S. authorities.

The move came after the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) said 999 of VinFast̵[ads1]7;s VF 8 vehicles had a software bug in the dashboard display that prevented critical safety information from being displayed and “may increase the risk of a crash”.

More than 700 of the 999 units are still in VinFast’s hands and have not been delivered to customers or fleet services, NHTSA estimated.

In a statement to Reuters, VinFast said it issued a voluntary safety recall of the VF 8 City Edition where the dashboard screen goes blank while driving or stationary.

“VinFast is not aware of any field reports of incidents. The company is issuing this recall out of an abundance of caution,” it said.

The recall statement comes less than two weeks after VinFast announced it would go public in the United States via a merger with special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) Black Spade Acquisition Co ( BSAQ.N ).

The logo of VinFast is pictured at the Paris Auto Show 2022 in Paris, France October 17, 2022. REUTERS/Stephane Mahe

The two companies estimated that the new entity would have a potential equity value of $23 billion, assuming no Black Spade shareholders choose to cash out.

In February, VinFast recalled 2,781 VF 8 cars sold domestically due to a problem with the front brake on some models.

VinFast, which was founded in 2017 and began selling electric cars in California this year, has shipped two batches of VF 8 cars to the US totaling 2,097 units. It also plans to ship its first vehicles to Europe in July.

In documents filed with NHTSA, VinFast said it first became aware of the dashboard issue on April 27 while reading customer comments and concerns. According to the safety agency, the problem has been documented 18 times.

NHTSA said VinFast will introduce a software update that should fix the problem. The software is scheduled to go live on May 25th with notification letters sent out to owners by May 29th.

Last month, VinFast said it had received a new round of funding pledges worth $2.5 billion from parent Vingroup JSC ( VIC.HM ), Vietnam’s biggest conglomerate, and founder Pham Nhat Vuong, Vietnam’s first billionaire and richest man.

Reporting by Phuong Nguyen and Sheena K Thomas; Editing by Martin Petty

Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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