VinFast aims to be profitable within 3 years

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HAI PHONG, Vietnam — Vietnamese automaker VinFast, which plans to start delivering electric vehicles to customers in Europe and the U.S before year-end, aims to be profitable within the next three years, Chief Financial Officer David Mansfield said.

When asked whether getting there was tied to the EV maker’s goal of boosting sales to 1 million within the next five to six years, Mansfield said the volume would be “substantially less than that number.”

He said he could not share more about VinFast’s sales targets ahead of its planned initial public offering.

“Because of where we are in the potential listing process and the regulations we are under, I can’t share more details,” Mansfield said during a media roundtable Wednesday at the automaker’s sprawling vehicle assembly complex here.

VinFast said in April that it had filed confidentially for a U.S. IPO. The share sale could raise about $2 billion, Bloomberg News reported, which would make it the biggest ever by a Vietnamese company.

The automaker previously said it was looking for a fourth-quarter share sale. That timetable has changed due to volatile market conditions, Mansfield said.

VinFast has secured about $1.2 billion in incentives for its planned EV factory in North Carolina, where it intends to start production in 2024.

The company said in July it had signed agreements with banks to raise at least $4 billion to help its U.S. expansion.

1 million milestone

VinFast is a unit of conglomerate Vingroup JSC, founded by billionaire Pham Nhat Vuong in 2017. Vuong set the ambitious target to deliver as many as 1 million cars globally in five to six years.

To put that into perspective, VinFast wants to do in 10 to 11 years of existence something that Volvo Cars has not been able to achieve 95 years.

The company builds 200 cars a day on one, eight-hour shift in Vietnam. The goal is to boost that to two shifts starting next month and eventually to three shifts to maximize its home plant’s 250,000 units of annual capacity.

The North Carolina plant will have 150,000 units of annual capacity, the company said, adding that it’s looking for a location in Europe for a third factory but declined to give a planned capacity for that plant.

VinFast Deputy CEO Michael Johnson, who is also head of manufacturing, did provide four criteria for the automaker to establish a plant in Europe:

  1. It needs to be close to the markets VinFast will sell in, which currently includes Germany, France and the Netherlands.
  2. It needs to provide the opportunity to use clean energy resources to power the facility
  3. It needs to be in a location that makes it logistically easy to transport vehicles to its target markets in Europe
  4. It needs to be in location with a qualified workforce.

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