Following entry into the North American market and plans for an HQ on American soil, Vietnamese EV automaker Vinfast, announced that North Carolina will be its new home for US manufacturing. The site in Chatham County, North Carolina, will soon house both an automotive assembly and battery manufacturing plant for Vinfast to build North American EVs like its VF 9 and VF 8.
VinFast is an automotive manufacturing subsidiary of VinGroup, a Vietnamese conglomerate developing everything from real estate to hotels and even healthcare. Originally founded in 2017, Vinfast began in the Vietnamese market with two ICE vehicles with the help of Pininfarina.
Since then, VinFast’s movements entering the EV market have been beyond “fast.” We got our first glimpse of its first two electric vehicles – the VF e35 and VF e36 – at the LA Auto Show this past fall, following news it would be entering markets in North America and Europe.
VinFast continued its rapid expansion with news that it would be opening a US headquarters in Los Angeles, alongside plans to manufacture on US soil in 2024. The automaker simultaneously shared that it has already been considering an IPO, seemingly taking three steps forward for every single step from its competitors.
By the end of 2021, VinFast began delivering its first electric vehicles to customers in Vietnam – the first-ever EVs to be sold in the country. By the end of this year, Vinfast will halt all ICE vehicle production overseas and strictly produce EVs, dropping the “e” from its vehicle nomenclature.
The first two EVs to arrive in North America will be the aforementioned VF e35 and e36, which have since been rebranded as the VF 8 and VF 9. Following Vinfast’s latest announcement, we now know these two flagship EVs will be assembled in North Carolina.
Vinfast to call North Carolina home for US manufacturing
According to a press release from Vinfast, the automaker has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the government of North Carolina to establish its first North American manufacturing facility in the state.
Vinfast intends to invest up to $2 billion in the first phase of the manufacturing site, creating thousands of new jobs for local residents. Set to break ground this year, Vinfast’s new manufacturing center in Chatham County, North Carolina, will cover nearly 2,000 acres divided into three separate areas: electric car and bus production/assembly, EV battery manufacturing, and ancillary industries for suppliers.
With its move to the eastern United States, Vinfast joins a growing number of EV automakers setting up shop in North Carolina, such as Arrival and Toyota. With other companies like Proterra and Volvo manufacturing batteries in North Carolina’s sister state, the Carolinas are quickly becoming an EV mecca. North Carolina Governor, Roy Cooper, shared a similar sentiment:
North Carolina is quickly becoming the center of our country’s emerging, clean energy economy. VinFast’s transformative project will bring many good jobs to our state, along with a healthier environment as more electric vehicles take to the road to help us reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
When scheduled production begins in July of 2024, the North Carolina site will join Vinfast’s current facility in Haiphong, Vietnam, which should have the capacity to produce 950,000 vehicles per year by 2026. Vinfast has stated that Phase 1 of the North Carolina plant should reach an output of 150,000 vehicles per year, but the MOU states intentions to add additional phases to the production footprint.
Those outputs will be vital in serving Vinfast’s growing global operations, which now include the United States, Canada, Germany, France, and the Netherlands in addition to Vietnam. North American consumers will first see the five-passenger, mid-sized VF 8 SUV and the seven-passenger VF 9 SUV.
The VF 8 will start at an MSRP of $41,000 in the United States and €36,133 in Europe, while the VF 9 will arrive at an MSRP of $56,000 (US) and €49,280 (Europe). It’s important to note that these prices do not include the EV battery which must be leased under one of two available plans through Vinfast for an additional fee based on monthly mileage.
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