VinFast crash that killed a family of four is now under federal investigation

The US's top vehicle safety regulator has launched a formal investigation into an April crash involving the all-electric VinFast VF8 SUV that killed a family of four, JS has learned.

The crash happened on April 24 around 9 p.m. in Pleasanton, California. Police told local news media at the time that it appeared the vehicle lost control before crashing into an oak tree and catching fire. A spokesperson for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) told JS on Monday that the Special Crash Investigations Division “will document the crash conditions and resulting fire.”

The victims, identified by the Alameda County Sheriff's Department as Tarun and Rincy George, and their two children, did not own the vehicle.

A few days after the crash, a complaint was filed with NHTSA explaining that the owner had loaned the EV to a colleague. According to the complaint, the alleged owner had experienced at least one instance where the car's lane-keeping assist had jerked the vehicle to the right.

The National Transportation Safety Board told JS on Monday that it has not opened an investigation into the crash. Pleasanton police said their own investigation is ongoing. VinFast did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Vietnamese EV maker VinFast has started shipping its VF8 SUV to the US early 2023. The rollout did not go well. The company was pilloried by reviewers for poor quality. In May 2023, it issued a recall due to issues with the dashboard screen turning black. At least one other complaint filed with the NHTSA at the time this article was published alleges an incident in which the driver assistance system turned the steering wheel unexpectedly.

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