Blank display for speedometer, warning lights leads to VinFast recall
Fri, May 26, 2023 9:24 AM
By Alan Wooten, The Center Square
A recipient in North Carolina of the "largest economic development announcement in the state’s history" is recalling all 999 vehicles sent to the United States.
VinFast, a $316.1 million taxpayer subsidy recipient to develop an assembly and battery plant in Chatham County’s Triangle Innovation Point megasite, said it is taking the step out of an abundance of caution. The company says a software glitch causes a blank screen in the VF8 model electric vehicles that displays safety information.
A warning from the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration on May 18 says the risk of a crash is increased by the problem. Specifically, it said a blank multifunction head unit display "will not show critical safety information, such as the speedometer or warning lights, which may increase the risk of a crash."
Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper, lame duck in status for the next 19 months, a year ago hailed the arrival of VinFast. Tax subsidies to the electric vehicle industry are $632.4 million in the last two years. He has a goal of 1.25 million of the vehicles registered by 2030, and Democrats in the House of Representatives supported that with a bill trying make new homes accommodate the trend.
But for context, North Carolina would need to add more than 170,000 electric vehicle registrations per year over the next seven years to meet the 1.25 million registration goal. Last year's jump of 13,377 lifted the total to 38,374 on Dec. 31, according to North Carolina Department of Transportation data.
There are roughly 8 million gasoline and diesel vehicles registered for North Carolina’s roads. And House Bill 318, the one Democrats wanted for home builders, five days after filing got parked in the rules committee where legislation goes to die.
VinFast’s first product for the United States is the VF8 City Edition, and reviews on the $50,000-plus vehicle have not been good. It is one of the models expected to be produced in North Carolina, and analysis noted problems with turn signals, HVAC systems, the drivetrain, steering, safety technologies, body control and ride quality.
Reviewers described the "sickness-inducing" VF8 as "terrible," "sloppy" and "borderline uncontrollable."
Motor Trend’s Scott Evens said he’s "driven camouflaged prototypes that were far closer to production-ready than the in-production VF8."
In March, VinFast announced it would delay its plan to start plant operations in July 2024 to 2025, citing the need for "more time to complete administrative procedures."
The company filed to list on the Nasdaq last year, and is working on a merger with a Hong Kong-based Black Spade Acquisition, which is listed on the New York Stock Exchange. Those efforts are aimed at funding the construction of its $1.4 billion North Carolina production facility, where VinFast is expected to produce 150,000 vehicles a year and create more than 7,000 jobs.
VinFast, founded in 2017, is headquartered in Hanoi, Vietnam, and produces vehicles from a factory in Hai Pong, Vietnam. A recent prospectus showed its $631 million in revenue for 2022 was down 6.9% from 2021, with net losses up 55%.