To hide a balance sheet that it undoubtedly considers insufficient, the Vietnamese Vinfast buys cars itself, via a taxi company in its group. Explanations.
After selling a few thermal cars, Vinfast decided to focus everything on electric. Founded in 2018, the Vietnamese manufacturer is owned by Vingroup, one of the country’s largest private conglomerates. It therefore seems to leave with a small advantage over other newly arrived brands, even if the Vingroup’s finances are fragile.
Its IPO in mid-August did not go unnoticed. In a few days, Vinfast became the third largest manufacturer in the world in terms of capitalization, behind Toyota and Tesla. A craze that is surprising to say the least, due to strong speculative activity. Without real surprise, the bellows has since fallen. Vinfast shares are currently stagnating at a level below their initial value.
Illusive sales and opaque finances
And the latest news should not necessarily help the manufacturer convince investors. An American site has just revealed that Vinfast was artificially inflating its sales, via a taxi company belonging to Vingroup. During the first half of 2023, it purchased around 7,000 of the 11,300 Vinfasts sold worldwide, or 62% of volumes.
The anomaly was detected by the American Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), which also revealed that almost all of the company’s shares are in fact controlled by the same man. Pham Nhat Vuong, the chairman of Vinfast, owns 51% of Vingroup, which has a majority stake in Vinfast. But on closer inspection, he is also the main shareholder of Vietnam Investment Group. However, it is with this consortium that Vingroup shares the shares of Vinfast. In reality, only 0.3% of the manufacturer’s stock of shares would actually be available.
Vinfast begins its offensive in Europe
These revelations come in an already complicated context for Vinfast, which recently encountered some approval problems in Europe. In an interview given to Auto Info, however, a brand executive claimed that the problem was now resolved. In France, the manufacturer has recently marketed the VF8, a 4.75 meter long electric SUV.
Priced at around 50,000 euros in basic finish, the VF8 seems to meet the expectations of certain European customers. The vehicle also benefits from an attractive 10-year/200,000 km warranty. Unfortunately for Vinfast, the VF8 has just received a lot of criticism from the specialized press in the United States. The consumption recorded in the EPA cycle does not speak in its favor either. However, we will have to wait for the final values in the WLTP cycle to make a definitive decision on this point.