Electric Vehicle Startup Vinfast Targets 2023 for Public Offering

Samson Amore

Samson Amore is a reporter for dot.LA. He holds a degree in journalism from Emerson College and previously covered technology and entertainment for TheWrap and reported on the SoCal startup scene for the Los Angeles Business Journal. Send tips or pitches to samsonamore@dot.la and find him on Twitter @Samsonamore.

Electric Vehicle Startup Vinfast Targets 2023 for Public Offering
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After an anticipated delay, electric vehicle startup Vinfast said Thursday its U.S. stock exchange debut could happen sometime in 2023.

Vinfast originally planned to go public by the fourth quarter of this year. But the pushback in timing was expected; back in May Vingroup (the Vietnamese conglomerate that owns Vinfast and its California operations) chairman Pham Nhat Vuong told Reuters that given “lots of ongoing market uncertainties right now,” the IPO might have to wait.

“Market uncertainties” included delays in securing chips and other valuable EV components from China, which struggled to keep pace with manufacturing amid early COVID-19 lockdowns.

“The IPO is not just for fundraising. It's also about marketing and claiming VinFast's position globally,” Vuong told Reuters at the time.

While there’s no set price or listing date for the IPO yet, Bloomberg reported it could be worth up to $2 billion; if so, that’d be the largest IPO for any Vietnamese company.

At an event this week, Vinfast chief financial officer David Mansfield told reporters the company plans to become profitable within the next three years. He declined to share any information about sales targets because of the ongoing “potential listing process.”

Vinfast launched in 2017, entered the U.S. in 2019 and made its splashy debut at the Los Angeles Auto Show last November, where it unveiled plans to sell two electric SUVs, renamed to the VF8 and VF9.

Starting prices range up to $76,000 for customers who opt to lease their batteries from Vinfast using its subscription model (which is a new tactic for U.S. automakers, but Vinfast is betting it could decrease customers’ latent performance anxiety and make its sticker price a little more attractive).

Although Vinfast hasn’t started production yet, it recently gained $1.2 billion in incentives to build a factory in North Carolina with an annual capacity of 150,000 units. It expects cars to begin rolling out beginning in 2024.

The company had a packed July; it announced $4 billion in loans to expand in the U.S., opened six showrooms in California and inked a partnership with Taiwanese solid-state battery maker ProLogium to supply batteries for Vinfast’s production lines in Asia.

Some of Vinfast’s autos have already been spotted in California, to mixed reviews – one recent visitor to the company’s Berkeley showroom called the cars “hideously ugly… Tesla knockoffs.”

The company’s ambitious goal is to deliver at least 1 million cars worldwide within the next six years and reach profitability by 2023. Mansfield said he predicted that it’d take awhile to reach that milestone and noted the initial sales will be “substantially less than that number.”

But deputy CEO Michael Johnson recently told Automotive News Europe he thought Vinfast’s 9 million square-foot factory in Vietnam would be a key to meeting production targets. “Our planned capacity here will be more than any other single site,” Johnson said.

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