VinFast increases car sales, mostly to itself, as EV maker’s losses and ambitions grow

VinFast reaffirmed its timeline to open a multibillion-dollar North Carolina factory by the end of next year during an investor call Thursday, as the Vietnamese auto startup also reported higher sales and deeper losses.

In 2023, VinFast sold 34,855 electric vehicles globally in 2023, more than a three-fold jump from the previous year. However, 72% of these sales were made to Green and Smart Mobility, a Vietnamese taxi service controlled by VinFast’s parent company, Vingroup, as well as to some customers of another Vingroup subsidiary called Vinhomes.

The company plans to sell 100,000 EVs this year, with Vietnam expected to account for roughly half of this “ambitious” target, VinFast chairwoman Le Thi Thu Thuy told investors. Expanding its auto dealer network in 2024 should help diversify sales geographically, she added; the company opened its first U.S. dealership in Cary in late December and now has six total across five states.

“The U.S. remains one of our strategic markets, and we are earning our right to compete for market share with our lineup,” Thuy said.

She did not share how many cars have been sold in the United States. VinFast previously told The News & Observer it had delivered 350 EVs to U.S. customers as of last summer. During the call Thursday, Thuy acknowledged the company received “critical but important product feedback” from U.S. customers during its initial rollout last year, which she said helped the carmaker improve its models.

Latest from Chatham site

Founded in 2017, VinFast continues to lose money as it seeks market share in Europe, other Asian countries, and North America. Despite growing revenue, the company lost $650 million during the final three months of 2023, a 3.4% increase from the previous quarter. In 2023, the automaker lost around $2.4 billion, exceeding its net losses in 2022 ($2.1 billion) and 2021 ($1.3 billion.)

Thuy assured investors the company has enough capital to sustain operations. It has $1.8 billion in liquidity, she said, including nearly $700 million committed from its parent company and Vingroup chairman Pham Nhat Vuong, who in January replaced Thuy as VinFast CEO. In the fall, VinFast also secured up to $1 billion in a stock deal with investment firm Yorkville Advisors Global.

She added the EV maker also has a pipeline of “multiple transactions that we think we would be able to execute this year,” including making more shares of its stock available to be traded.

Construction is underway at the site of VinFast’s electric vehicle assembly plant in Moncure on Thursday, Jan. 4, 2024. Travis Long/
Construction is underway at the site of VinFast’s electric vehicle assembly plant in Moncure on Thursday, Jan. 4, 2024. Travis Long/

As the carmaker revs up construction on major plants in India and Indonesia, it has made initial progress on its first North American factory in Chatham County. The company has pledged to employ 7,500 workers at the site in the coming years and to invest $4 billion building an assembly and battery plant capable of churning out 150,000 vehicles a year.

The automaker broke ground at the site in July. By Jan. 1, construction crews had begun to build up the facility vertically, an important benchmark the state had set to ensure VinFast kept pace with its aggressive timeline in Chatham.

This month, the company’s global communications team provided an update on the site.

“Following the completion of site grading in 2023, we have now commenced various vital infrastructure works and significant progress has been made across all major areas, such as the General Assembly Shop,” VinFast said in a Feb. 5 email to the N&O. “The concrete columns, a foundational element at GA Shop are already taking shape.”

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