Vinfast has secured additional funding pledges worth $2.5 billion, the company confirmed Wednesday.
That may allow it to keep it moving smoothly ahead of its planned U.S. stock-market listing and past that timeframe.
Of the new funding pledges, $1 billion will be provided as a non-refundable grant—the language used by the company—within the next year from Vinfast founder Pham Nhat Vuong, Vietnam's richest man. Meanwhile the larger Vingroup will contribute $500 million. In addition to that, the company says that it may receive a further $1 billion in the next five years.
“To build a national brand that can compete in the international market is particularly difficult, challenging, and even requires sacrificing immediate benefits," said a representative of the chairman, in a Vinfast statement. "Mr. Pham Nhat Vuong plans to donate some of his personal assets to energize VinFast during the pivotal acceleration period to create a mark of Vietnam in the world’s electric vehicle market."
Vinfast VF 8
The U.S. initial public offering (IPO) may be further delayed, possibly into next year, according to Reuters, which cited two anonymous sources familiar with the matter. Additional funding could support the company's ambitious expansion plans in the meantime.
Vinfast started out selling gasoline cars based on older BMW designs in its home market before switching to EVs and setting its sights on the U.S., starting with the VF 8 electric SUV. The first U.S.-bound vehicles were shipped out in December, but few have yet been delivered beyond that small initial group of 100 vehicles.
In addition to the VF 8, Vinfast has already revealed a wide range of models. It plans to follow up the VF 8 with the three-row VF 9, plus smaller VF 6, VF 7, and VF 5 electric SUVs. All vehicles are currently produced in Vietnam, but Vinfast has plans for additional factories in the U.S. and Germany. The U.S. factory, located in North Carolina, is slated to start building cars in 2024.
However, an earlier drive of a prototype a year ago signaled that the VF 8 had a long way to go. That experience indicated Vinfast may be moving too fast, and might need to focus on refining the VF 8 first before moving on to other models and higher production volumes.