Image by VinFast

Vietnamese electric vehicle (EV) startup VinFast confirmed earlier this week that it had chosen North Carolina as the location of a new production facility. VinFast’s facility will be the first auto factory ever in North Carolina. The North Carolina Commerce Department verified that the so-called “megasite” will be located in Chatham County at the Triangle Innovation Point. The facility, south of Raleigh, will span over 2,000 acres and is expected to have more than 7,500 employees in the next five years. 

VinFast will reportedly invest over $4 billion into the megasite project, including $2 billion for the first phase. When discussing the decision to begin operations in the U.S., VinFast Global’s CEO, Nguyen Thi Thu Thuy, said that having a facility in the US “can stabilize prices and shorten product delivery time, making our EVs more accessible to customers.” 

After looking into 28 other sites throughout 12 US states, the company reportedly chose the Chatham County site. 

According to a press release from North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper, the project expects to “grow the state’s economy by at least $71.59 billion over 32 years.” As long as VinFast abides by its hiring and investment promises, North Carolina has agreed to provide incentives of $854 million throughout those 32 years, and Chatham County could provide $400 million. The State may also provide up to an additional $450 million for necessary infrastructure installation, repair, and updates.  

This week’s announcement did not include any mention of potential tax breaks. 

Cooper’s press release indicated the average salary for VinFast employees would be slightly over $51,000, which is a notable increase from the current average annual wage of $41,638 in Chatham County. He told reporters that the new plant will “create opportunities for engineers, technicians, and numerous production positions.” 

North Carolina Senator Phil Berger also expressed satisfaction with the plans and said the announcement “is just another example of the unprecedented growth in North Carolina’s economy, fueled by low taxes, a strong workforce, and reasonable regulations.” Cooper added that the facility will “draw vendors and suppliers from far and wide” and said that “North Carolina is quickly becoming the center of our country’s emerging, clean energy economy.” 

Vietnamese Ambassador Nguyen Quoc Dzung attended the announcement ceremony in Raleigh this week and stated, “Twenty-seven years after normalization, the Vietnam-U.S. relations have grown by leaps and bounds…Vietnam and the U.S. have now become strong partners in all areas.” 

Plans for the megasite are broken down into three areas, including one for electric vehicle and bus production, one for EV battery production, and one that will facilitate logistics for suppliers of parts and components. 

As part of the agreement with the State of North Carolina, the project will be carried out in phases. Phase 1 will reportedly start as soon as necessary permits are obtained, and actual vehicle production is projected to begin in the Summer of 2024. Initially, VinFast will produce its five-passenger and seven-passenger SUVs at the facility and plans to build battery packs there in the future. 

VinFast expects annual output to be 150,000 vehicles by the end of the first phase. Once the facility is running at total capacity, the automaker hopes to produce around 200,000 vehicles per year. 

VinFast is also looking into potentially opening a facility in Germany at some point, expanding the availability of its vehicles even further.

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