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Vietnamese Tesla Rival Files to Go Public

VinFast says its vehicles are 'differentiated, especially across the emerging EV space.' Here's what the company is touting.

VinFast, the Vietnam-based electric-vehicle maker, is shifting into high gear.

The company on Dec. 7 said it had filed for an initial public offering with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

The company plans to list on Nasdaq under the ticker symbol VFS. The number of shares to be offered and the price range have not yet been determined, VinFast said.

Citigroup Global Markets, Morgan Stanley, Credit Suisse and J.P. Morgan Securities are the lead bankers on the offering.

Established in 2017, VinFast is part of the VinGroup conglomerate, which was founded by Pham Nhat Vuong, Vietnam's first billionaire.

The company said on Nov. 25 that it was sending its first batch of 999 VF 8s, the company's five-seater electric SUV, to America aboard the Silver Queen, a Panamanian charter ship.

The first VinFast customers in the U.S. can expect their cars by the end of December.

'Low-Cost ... Premium Quality'

"We believe our vehicles are differentiated, especially across the emerging EV space, through our low cost structure relative to our peers, as well as our premium-quality product offering, including advanced technology and new-mobility features for our drivers, a fashionable and luxurious design, and our comprehensive Smart Services solution," the company said in its SEC filing

VinFast said it expected to remain competitive "by focusing on SUVs, the most popular consumer vehicle segment, and including in our products top-tier technology and luxurious outfitting that is not standard for similar vehicles at our price points."

"We strongly believe in the future of smart mobility and strive to provide the VinFast platform as an access point to that future," the filing said.

VinFast is planning to expand its manufacturing capabilities to the U.S.

The company said in July that it had received a $1.2 billion incentive package from North Carolina for its electric-vehicle manufacturing facility at the Triangle Innovation Point in Chatham County.

The facility will cover 2,000 acres, with sections for electric cars and buses production and assembly, and ancillary industries for suppliers. The factory is designed to reach the capacity of 150,000 vehicles per year.

The company is stepping into a very crowded field of competitors, including market leader Tesla  (TSLA) - Get Free Report, most of the legacy car makers and many startups, according to research firm Tracxn.

VinGroup Has 'Deep Pockets'

Some of the EV startups are having a hard time.

Last month, Lucid Group's  (LCID) - Get Free Report shares fell after the Newark, Calif., company's third-quarter sales and earnings missed estimates and reservations for the company’s luxury electric vehicles declined.

Rivian  (RIVN) - Get Free Report, which counts Amazon  (AMZN) - Get Free Report as one of its investors, saw billionaire George Soros continuing to liquidate his shares in the company.

VinFast lost about $1.3 billion in 2021, and an additional $1.4 billion through the first three quarters of 2022

Michael Goldberg, a professor with the Weatherhead School of Management at Case Western Reserve University, noted recently that "VinGroup is involved in quite a few businesses and have deep pockets." He added that VinFast "is not a thinly capitalized startup in the EV space."

The IPO announcement comes days after VinGroup unveiled a strategic collaboration with Google Cloud  (GOOGL) - Get Free Report to modernize and connect its critical systems and data at a group-wide level.

"With Google Cloud's leading cloud infrastructure and unified data platform, we can analyze and understand customer needs, provide personalized products and services, and create compelling customer experiences," Le Thi Thu Thuy, vice chairwoman of VinGroup and chairwoman of VinFast, said in a statement.