Vietnamese EV Maker VinFast Prepping for U.S. IPO

With an eye towards making a big splash in the U.S. market, Vietnamese EV maker VinFast revealed Thursday its Singapore-based holding company is filing for an initial public offering with U.S. securities regulators. 

VinFast Chief Executive Le Thi Thu Thuy, second from right, said the U.S. IPO would likely come this fall.

“VinFast is moving ahead with its plans but the timing of the IPO is very much open,” an anonymous source told Reuters. “There needs to be a window to get the IPO done and it could easily take a couple of months.”

There was some thought the company may be valued at as much as $60 billion, Reuters reported, but recent public offerings have shown most of the early estimates to be a little over enthusiastic, so the goal of netting $2 billion from the offering may be too ambitious. VinFast officials confirmed the coming IPO during an event with the media in Vietnam showcasing its VF8 all-electric SUV.

“There are options to look at. We are still considering a lot of options,” Chief Executive Le Thi Thu Thuy told reporters, adding the IPO was expected to occur in the second half of 2022 as one option to fund a plant planned in North Carolina and U.S. expansion.

Bolstering the bank account

The IPO comes as Vietnam’s first high-volume automaker announced plans to set up a new manufacturing facility in North Carolina, an investment expected to reach $6.5 billion. However, the company is only committed to a $2 billion project that will produce vehicles, buses and battery packs.

VinFast Press Conference in North Carolina
The new facility could employ as many as 13,000 people in North Carolina, officials noted.

But the company’s will be launching in a very tough market. Other EV startups, such as Rivian and Lucid, are already manufacturing vehicles, and established OEMs are finally fielding, or are about to launch, a slew of EVs in a variety of price points. 

The IPO and proposed factory reinforce VinFast’s aggressive intentions for the American market. The company expects to raise about $2 billion with its IPO, which should help fund its multi-billion-dollar factory. The new manufacturing facility is expected to produce 150,000 units annually once it comes online in 2024. 

A fast start for a new automaker

Founded in 2016 and based in Haiphong, the primary port city in northern Vietnam. VinFast is part of Vingroup, a Vietnamese conglomerate with a wide range of businesses. VinFast manufactured its first domestic car in 2019, a modified version of the BMW X5 SUV. 

But the company’s ambitions were made clear last fall at the L.A. Auto Show, when the automaker revealed two electric SUVs that will go by the names VF5 and VF6. It revealed two different models in Los Angeles and followed up with three more during a presentation at the Consumer Electronics Show in January.

VinFast VF8
2023 VinFast VFe8 is one of the two vehicles the North Carolina plant will produce once running in 2024.

The five SUVs cover what the industry refers to as the A, B, C, D and E segments, basically from subcompact to full size. The largest offerings were originally dubbed the VFe-35 and VFe-36 when unveiled in Los Angeles. The range will now go from VF5 to VF9. The four largest models, the VinFast VF6, VF7, VF8 and VF9, will be sold in the United States. The little VF5 will be limited to Europe and Asia, officials told TheDetroitBureau.

Learning a few key lessons

Taking a page from the playbook early on used by Japanese and South Korean automakers, VinFast plans to appeal to consumers with a value-oriented focus delivering lots of features at a relatively mainstream price. The VF8, for example, will start at $41,000, the VF9 for $56,000. Both those models will be produced at the North Carolina facility.

Production is set to begin on those models later this year. Early products will be shipped to the States from VinFast’s Haiphong assembly complex that will have a capacity of 950,000 EVs by 2026, according to a statement from the automaker.

Source: The Detroit Bureau Read More