Vietnamese EV Maker VinFast Files to Go Public in the U.S.

Frederic J. Brown | AFP | Getty Images
  • VinFast, Vietnam's only domestic automaker, announced plans to go public in the United States.
  • VinFast plans to begin delivering its electric SUVs to U.S. customers by the end of this year.
  • For now its vehicles are built in Vietnam, but VinFast plans to have a U.S. factory up and running by mid-2024.

Vietnamese EV maker VinFast is going public in the U.S.

VinFast on Tuesday said it has filed a registration statement with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, the first formal step toward a public offering next year. The company in March announced plans for a $2 billion factory in North Carolina and hopes to deliver its first vehicles to American customers by year-end.

Citigroup Global Markets, Morgan Stanley, Credit Suisse and J.P. Morgan Securities are the lead bankers on the offering. VinFast will trade on the Nasdaq under the symbol "VFS" once its offering is completed. The company didn't say how much money it's hoping to raise.

VinFast became Vietnam's first domestic automaker when it began manufacturing internal combustion vehicles in 2019. It's now focused entirely on electric vehicles – production of its last internal-combustion model ended in early November. The company is currently taking reservations for two electric SUVs, the midsize VF8 and larger VF9.

The VF8 and VF9 start at $57,000 and $76,000, respectively – but both can be ordered without batteries, lowering the up-front cost significantly, if the buyer opts for a monthly battery subscription. Without batteries, the VF8 and VF9 start at just over $42,000 and $57,500; the battery subscriptions are priced at $169 per month for the VF8 and $219 per month for the larger VF9.

As of the end of September, VinFast had about 58,000 worldwide reservations for the two models. For now, all VinFasts are made at the company's factory in Haiphong; it hopes to have its U.S. factory, with a capacity of 150,000 vehicles per year, up and running by July 2024.

While VinFast is new to the United States, it's not a typical startup. Founded in 2017, VinFast is a unit of Vingroup, Vietnam's largest conglomerate, which has interests in real estate development and education as well as a number of technology businesses.

But while Vingroup is well established in its home country, VinFast itself isn't yet profitable: It lost about $1.3 billion in 2021, and an additional $1.4 billion through the first three quarters of 2022.  

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