By Phuong Nguyen
HANOI (Reuters) -Vietnamese electric vehicle (EV) maker VinFast said it is recalling all of the first batch of vehicles it shipped to the United States last year following a safety warning issued by U.S. authorities.
The move came after the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) said 999 of VinFast’s VF 8 vehicles suffered a software error in the dashboard display that prevented critical safety information from being shown 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, the NHTSA estimated.
In a statement to Reuters, VinFast said it issued a voluntary safety recall of the VF 8 City Edition on which 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 list in the United States via a merger with special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) Black Spade Acquisition Co.
The two companies estimated the new entity would have a potential equity value of $23 billion, assuming no Black Spade shareholders elect to cash out.
In February, VinFast recalled 2,781 VF 8 cars sold domestically over an issue with the front brake of some models.
VinFast, which was founded in 2017 and began selling EVs in California this year, has shipped two batches of VF 8 cars to the United States totalling 2,097 units. It is also planning to send its first vehicles to Europe in July.
In documents filed with the 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.
The NHTSA said VinFast will introduce a software update that should fix the issue. The software fix is scheduled to go live on May 25 with notification letters being sent out to owners by May 29.
Last month, VinFast said it had received a fresh round of funding pledges worth $2.5 billion from parent Vingroup JSC, 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, Christopher Cushing and Tom Hogue)