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Feds Investigate VinFast Crash That Killed 4 After Report of Steering Problem

An NHTSA complaint alleges the SUV's lane-keeping system resulted in a loss of control once prior to the crash.
VinFast

On April 24, the George family—Tarun, Rincy, and their two children, aged 13 and 9—were involved in a single-vehicle crash in Pleasanton, California that tragically took all of their lives. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is now investigating the situation, as it seems there could have been a steering malfunction in the borrowed VinFast VF8 they were driving.

The Georges borrowed the electric SUV from one of Tarun’s coworkers, who filed a complaint with NHTSA a few days after the crash. According to TechCrunch, the owner of the VF8 had previously experienced at least one instance where the steering wheel would jerk to the right, due to a perceived lane-assist feature error. On Monday, the NHTSA said that its Special Crash Investigations department will “document the crash circumstances and the ensuing fire.”

While police are still seeking answers, it’s known that the car reportedly hit a pole before striking a tree and catching fire, per CBS News, and authorities said speed “appeared to have been a factor” in the incident. The NHTSA doesn’t disclose the identify of people who file complaints, but one complaint seemingly registered by the owner in Pleasanton mentioned that during their time with the VF8, “the steering wheel automatically maneuvered to the right direction,” and that the issue recurred because the vehicle’s lane-keep assist was turned on by default. The complaint also described the crash that is now under federal investigation.

This NHTSA complaint isn’t the only one lobbed at VinFast for alleged steering and active safety system issues. There are currently 11 reports of issues from customers relating to the 2023 VF8, most of which are about forward collision avoidance, lane departure, and steering. Some of the other complaints describe the powertrain shifting into park while driving, the vehicle driving into traffic cones, and even suddenly losing power at 80 mph.

VinFast has of course found itself at the center of controversy since the launch of the VF8, its first vehicle sold in North America. Negative reviews citing defects that VinFast later vowed to get on top of, as well as a recall last May for blank displays have called the manufacturer’s quality control into question. It’s up to regulators to determine now whether such an oversight contributed in any way to this tragedy.

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