Recall Looms as Media Screen Goes Dark in US-Market VinFast VF 8
- Following initial deliveries and media test drives, VinFast’s flagship EV crossover, the VF 8, is now subject to a voluntary recall involving a screen failure.
- In filings with the NHTSA, the single screen in the VF 8 was prone to going completely blank, hindering drivers from monitoring their vehicle status or using infotainment features.
- An over-the-air fix will be available shortly, but the recall further emphasizes the rushed feeling that characterizes the company’s early model offerings.
Last week, Autoweek contributor Ben Stewart reviewed Vietnam’s new halo electric crossover, the VinFast VF 8, and was left with some concerns about the company’s commitment to quality.
Shoddy construction, inconsistent driving controls, and a confusing infotainment system revealed a model that needs another round of internal testing, though we felt that the company’s initial US offering wouldn’t be half bad if these issues were remedied.
What we didn’t experience, however, was a complete failure of the singular, all-encompassing 15.6-inch screen—a problem that leads VinFast to now recall its first batch of US-bound VF 8s. Specifically, 999 VF 8 City Editions are being voluntarily recalled following an internal discovery of the problem. The defect has been documented 18 times since the company discovered it on April 27, according to documents filed with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
“On certain 2023 MY VF 8 Variant MPVs, the MHU screen goes blank while driving or stationary. When this condition manifests, the driver can see neither the display’s telltale warning lights nor the control icons. After an ignition cycle, the MHU display screen returns to normal operation,” the NHTSA filing reads.
In most vehicles, a failure of the infotainment screen would be a serious nuisance, but not a safety issue. However, because the VF 8 lacks a driver-centered gauge cluster, a screen failure bars VF 8 owners from accessing vehicle control functions, warning messages, and other critical features.
VinFast claims this issue isn’t present on the roughly 300 units already delivered, as Reuters claims the company still has around 700 units of the original 999 it imported. Additionally, the company estimated only about 7% of the 999 units included in the recall will be affected.
It appears this issue hasn’t affected the second batch of VF 8s in the US, further emphasizing the rushed feeling these early VF 8s have. Even so, VinFast says the fix will be relatively easy. A free over-the-air software fix will be available to its network of 13 branded service kiosks in California starting today, May 25, and customers will be notified of this fix by May 29. To prevent future issues, the software fix includes a watchdog mechanism that will nip future issues in the bud by restarting the screen as needed.
This isn’t a great start for VinFast, especially in a hot-bed EV market that hasn’t always been friendly to foreign startups. But VinFast likely has chances to redeem itself going forward, and it has the monetary support to keep trying too.
Parent company Vingroup has committed to providing an additional $2.5 billion in funding, while the brand also plans a US stock listing with special purpose acquisition company Black Spade. If this merger were to go through, the new joint entity would be valued at $23 billion, according to Reuters.
VinFast appears extremely committed to building a US presence. Beyond its dozen-plus mall-based retail locations in California, the brand is planning to build a domestic plant in North Carolina by 2025, in addition to opening 30 retail spaces across California. Even so, VinFast will need more than trendy dealerships and domestic production to sway US customers into trying a fledging EV brand above market leaders like Tesla, Ford, and Hyundai.
Are you willing to buy a vehicle from a fledging brand (or an early model from any automaker) if the price is right? Please share your thoughts below.
A New York transplant hailing from the Pacific Northwest, Emmet White has a passion for anything that goes: cars, bicycles, planes, and motorcycles. After learning to ride at 17, Emmet worked in the motorcycle industry before joining Autoweek in 2022. The woes of alternate side parking have kept his fleet moderate, with a 2014 Volkswagen Jetta GLI and a 2003 Honda Nighthawk 750 street parked in his South Brooklyn community.