EV maker VinFast plans Asia expansion, to launch Indonesia plant in 2026

FILE PHOTO: Press day at the Los Angeles Auto Show

By Phuong Nguyen

HANOI (Reuters) -Vietnamese electric vehicle maker VinFast plans to expand in seven more markets in Asia, including Indonesia where it aims to start deliveries from next year and establish a plant in 2026.

VinFast, formed and almost entirely controlled by Pham Nhat Vuong, Vietnam’s richest man and founder of parent conglomerate Vingroup, aims to invest around $1.2 billion in the Indonesian market in the long-term, according to its latest filing to the to U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

Of that, up to $200 million would be for its Indonesian plant, targeting production in 2026 with an output of 30,000 to 50,000 units each year.

Indonesia, a country of 270 million people and Southeast Asia’s biggest economy, is on a drive to attract global EV makers, touting its abundant supplies of nickel, a key component of EV batteries. However, EVs currently account for less than 1% of cars on its roads.

The Indonesian facility will be VinFast’s third besides its main one in northern Vietnamese city of Haiphong, and a new plant in North Carolina, slated to start in 2025.

Since its establishment in 2017, VinFast has announced numerous ambitious EV growth plans overseas.

The EV maker also said in its filing that it planned to create a presence in India, Malaysia, the Middle East, Africa and Latin America and expand its presence in Europe as it identified between 40 and 50 potential markets.

VinFast aims to establish its own distributors and may open show rooms in those locations, it said.

Last month, the startup achieved a Nasdaq listing that valued the loss-making startup at more than $85 billion, higher on its listing day than Ford.

VinFast is entering the American market at a time when EV pricing is under pressure, led by market leader Tesla and a range of Chinese companies.

Share of VinFast closed up 3.86% at $17.21 on Tuesday, compared with its peak of $82.35 on Aug 28. The small amount of publicly available shares makes the stock prone to volatility.

The company, which has not made a profit yet, said it intends to raise capital from global investors over the next 18 months. Shares of Vietnam’s largest conglomerate and VinFast parent Vingroup were down 0.33% as of 0635 GMT.

(Reporting by Phuong Nguyen; Editing by Christina Fincher)