Vietnamese automaker Vinfast on Tuesday announced a North Carolina EV factory, aiming to start production in 2024.
First reported by local newspaper The News & Observer and subsequently confirmed by Vinfast, the factory will be located at Triangle Innovation Point "megasite" in Chatham County, near the state capital of Raleigh. According to the company, it will lead to the creation of thousands of jobs.
In a press release, Vinfast said it will invest about $2 billion in the first phase of construction, which is scheduled to start later this year. Once the factory has reached full capacity, it will be capable of building 150,000 vehicles per year.
VinFast VF 8 Prototype
The factory will build two of the five EV models the company has shown so far—the VF 8 and VF 9 SUVs—the company said. While the North Carolina factory isn't expected to begin production for almost two years, Vinfast previously said it would start United States sales before the end of 2022.
Founded in 2017 as an outgrowth of Vietnamese conglomerate Vingroup, Vinfast launched with internal-combustion vehicles based on hand-me-down BMW platforms.
Befitting its name, the company has moved fast since then. In November 2021, it unveiled two prototypes at the Los Angeles auto show, announced the establishment of a U.S. headquarters earlier this year, and showed three more models—the VF 5, VF 6, and VF 7 at the 2022 Consumer Electronics Show.
VinFast VF 9 Prototype
When we got an up-close look at the VF 8 and VF 9 in February, Vinfast still hadn't finalized specifications. The company is expected to announce more details at the 2022 New York auto show in April.
Vinfast had mentioned plans for a U.S. factory before, along with one in Germany. The choice of North Carolina gives the state its first large-scale car plant. Toyota in 2021 announced a North Carolina facility to make EV battery cells, however.
Neighboring South Carolina has been the choice of automakers to date. BMW has been building cars there for more than two decades, and was joined recently by Volvo. Mercedes-Benz also has a van assembly plant in South Carolina, and startup Arrival has said it will open a factory in the state as well.