VinFast builds US plant in North Carolina

VinFast builds US plant in North Carolina

Vietnamese electric car maker VinFast has announced the construction of its first plant in the U.S. The factory in Chatham County, North Carolina, will produce e-cars, e-buses and batteries for them on an 800-acre site.

Construction of the first phase of the factory will begin later this year, with production scheduled to start in July 2024, according to the manufacturer. The capacity of the first phase of expansion is expected to be 150,000 vehicles per year. The vehicles to be produced at the site include the VF 8 and VF 9 SUV models.

The factory is to be built in the Triangle Innovation Point industrial park in Chatham County, which is located to the west of the major city of Raleigh, i.e. very centrally located in the US state. The announcement only refers in general terms to "thousands of jobs" that are to be created there.

"North Carolina is quickly becoming the center of our nation's emerging clean energy economy," said North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper. "VinFast's transformative project will bring many good jobs to our state, along with a healthier environment as more electric vehicles hit the road to help us reduce greenhouse gas emissions."

VinFast had first spoken publicly about its plans for a U.S. plant - including a startup in the second half of 2024 - at CES in January. In an interview a short time later, VinFast CEO Le Thi Thu Thuy indicated that a later expansion stage would reach up to 250,000 cars, which would not be exported but sold only in North America.

In January, VonFast also mentioned plans for a battery factory in the U.S., initially assembling battery packs with supplied cells and later manufacturing cells. At the time, it said that three of the original 50 potential U.S. locations were still on the short list. The memo does not say whether the battery assembly mentioned above is the battery factory that was actually announced separately, or whether it will be built later at a different location. It does not mention a cell manufacturing facility planned for later.