Meet VinFast's EV push past Ford, General Motors

Meet VinFast's EV push past Ford, General Motors

VinFast, a Vietnamese electric vehicle producer, has made its debut on Nasdaq, and its shares soared to push its stock market valuation past Ford and General Motors on its opening day of trading.

Here's what we know about VinFast's push to make it in the crowded EV market.

VinFast, Vietnam's first car manufacturer, is based in Vietnam. It has created two EV models in North America, becoming the first Vietnamese car to be sold in the US market.

It wants to compete with giants such as Tesla and began building a factory in the US state of North Carolina last month.

Vingruppe, a subsidiary of Vietnam's largest private conglomerate, is owned by the country's richest man, Pham Nhat Vuong.

Vuong started out selling dried noodles in the former Soviet Union before expanding into a $5 billion fortune from businesses in various sectors, such as real estate, tourism and education.

When his focus shifted to cars, he transformed a muddy patch of swampland near Haiphong, northern Vietnam's port city, into a state-of-the-art factory within two years.

The plant consisted of 1,200 robots, German, Japanese and Swedish equipment, and a worldwide team of auto giants such as BMW and General Motors.

VinFast, however, reported a loss of $2.1 billion in 2022.

What happened to Nasdaq on its debut?

Shares of VinFast rose sharply, closing at more than $37 yesterday, putting the market on the upswing. Following the day's trade, it had a market value of around $85 billion, much higher than Ford's $48 billion valuation and General Motor's $46 billion.

Vuong's wealth jumped by $39 billion, according to Bloomberg.

He owns about 99 percent of shares, meaning only a small number are actively traded. The price volatility of these products can cause them to be at a big price change.

VinFast has completed a merger with casino mogul Lawrence Ho's Black Spade Acquisition to get the company listed in the United States.

Black Spade is a 'blank cheque' company, or a special purpose acquisition corporation introduced to public markets with the sole purpose of merging with an operating company.

Some companies using SPACs - including EV startups - have experienced major market drops.

VinFast's EVs are slowly gaining in popularity in Vietnam, where they were launched last year. In April, it also launched a taxi service in major cities using the EVs.

More than 10,000 orders for two models - the VF8 and the VF9 - have been placed by customers in North America, VinFast said in a statement.

But only 350 vehicles, all of which are VF8s, are currently on the road.

Elliot Richards, a presenter for the YouTube channel Fullycharged, said that VinFast had succeeded in the US market, where other bigger names in the electric industry, such as China's BYD, had failed.

The listing on Nasdaq gives VinFast a second chance, he said after 'the first car was pretty much a flop' due to 'fixtures and fittings that didn't up to expectations, as well as the drive'.

VinFast hopes to begin production in North Carolina in 2025, and has also opened showrooms in Canada and Europe.