VinFast enjoyed a sorely needed win last month when it went public with an initial stock valuation of $85 billion, higher than GM, Ford, and BMW. While that number has come down significantly since then, the company is still valued higher than some automotive giants, such as Hyundai. However, according to the Financial Times, the Vietnamese electric automaker only sold 11,300 vehicles in the first half of 2023, and 7,100 of those cars were bought by a taxi service under the VinGroup umbrella.
The taxi firm that bought the majority of VinFast's cars is Green and Smart Mobility (GSM), which belongs to the same parent company as VinFast—VinGroup. All VinGroup companies are mostly owned by the same man: Vietnamese billionaire Pham Nhat Vuong, who claims 99% of VinFast, even after its small amount of shares being traded.
Furthermore, in a recent VinFast U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filing, the EV startup admitted that another part of its revenue came from selling battery components to VinES, an energy provider; and selling buses to VinBus, an electric bus company. Take a guess who owns those two brands.
VinFast wants to sell 50,000 cars this year, but it reportedly struck a deal with GSM for 30,000 EVs back in March, which doesn't leave many more for customers in the global market. According to Automotive News, VinFast only sold 128 cars in the U.S. between January and May of 2023.
The rest of the automotive world is stumped by VinFast's high stock valuation considering its low sales figures, most of which went to the company's own affiliated brands. The first VinFast cars that arrived in the U.S. market suffered heavy delays, bad reviews, and a recall for a software error that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said could increase the risk of a crash. Critics have slammed the VinFast VF8 for poor build quality and faulty electronics. And yet, the company is still worth almost $40 billion.
"Do you think that VinFast can be worth more than BMW? Let’s be serious," Renault CEO Luca de Meo told Financial Times.
De Meo has a point. It seems investors were initially excited about VinFast's potential and entry into the global market. But now that we know that its own parent company is its best customer, the other shoe has to drop, right?
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