• NHTSA has launched a preliminary investigation into a fatal crash involving a VinFast VF 8 in Pleasanton, California, in April
  • Police found that the EV lost control, hit a tree and caught fire, killing a family of four
  • Owner of VF 8 who had loaned EV to family previously experience a steering malfunction

Federal safety regulators have begun a preliminary investigation into the causes of an accident that resulted in the death of a family of four whose VinFast VF 8 crashed off the road month.

Tarun and Rincy George and their two children, aged nine and 13, were killed when the EV they were travelling hit an oak tree and caught fire in Pleasanton, California, in April. At the time of the accident local police said that no other vehicles were involved and that speed could have played a role in the accident.

Related: Tesla Driver Reportedly On FSD Dodges Train By Taking Control At The Last Second

The NHTSA got involved after receiving a complaint from the owner of the VF 8, who worked with Tarun George and had loaned him the EV, Reuters reports. The car’s owner says he had previously experienced a steering problem with the SUV and was concerned that the same issue might have been the cause of the George’s fatal accident. He claimed that the car attempted to steer to the right by itself, but that he was able to regain control on that occasion.

A VinFast spokesman told the Pleasanton Weekly earlier this month that the company is “aware of this tragic accident in Pleasanton and our hearts go out to the family. The authorities are currently investigating the cause of the accident and will share their findings when their work is completed.”

 VinFast Crash That Killed California Family Sparks Federal Investigation

Speaking to Pleasanton Weekly shortly after the crash, Pleasanton police Lt. Erik Silacci said that although the car caught fire, investigators think it was the impact and not the ensuing blaze that caused those onboard to die.

VinFast began selling its VF 8 electric SUV in the U.S. in January 2023 but the brand’s American launch hasn’t gone as smoothly as it might have wanted. It was forced to recall vehicles due to infotainment screens going blank, suffered a savaging by reviewers, and news stories reported very low sales figures during 2023, though they seem to be picking up pace in 2024.