VinFast, Vietnam’s first automaker, has announced that it will establish its first North American factory in the state of North Carolina. The company signed a memorandum of understanding with the government of North Carolina to build the new facility. In the first phase, VinFast aims to invest up to $2 billion, which it says will create thousands of new jobs.
The new VinFast factory will create a major manufacturing center within Chatham County’s triangle Innovation Point mega site. It will cover 800 hectares or 1,977 acres with three areas: a production and assembly area for battery-electric cars and buses, a battery production zone, and an ancillary industries area for suppliers. Construction of the factory’s first phase starts in 2022 once construction permits are granted.
Production is set to begin in July 2024 with a capacity of 150,000 vehicles per year. More investments will go into the site via phases after the first is completed.
Two crossovers will be initially made at the new North Carolina facility. They’ll be the two of the larger models in the lineup: the VF 8, a mid-size crossover, and the VF 9, a large three-row SUV.
“Automotive assembly plants are incredible engines for economic growth, due to the positive ripple effects they create across a region’s economy,” said Machelle Baker Sanders, Commerce Secretary for the state of North Carolina. “I’m so pleased that VinFast has decided to launch their North American manufacturing operations from our state, and we’ll work hard to make sure they find the skilled workforce they’ll need to grow and thrive in North Carolina.”
VinFast has established its global operations in the U.S., Canada, Germany, France, and the Netherlands. In its home market, VinFast offers a full ecosystem supporting its BEVs, which includes e-scooters, commercial vehicles, and electric cars. The company also offers green energy solutions and a network of charging stations to support electrified mobility. VinFast’s production facility in Haiphong, Vietnam will be expanded to accommodate a production capacity of 950,000 vehicles by 2026.
The establishment of the new production facility in North Carolina shows VinFast’s commitment to developing and growing its international presence, especially in the U.S. It also ensures the company’s self-reliance in global manufacturing. Other projects include a new battery plant owned by VinFast’s parent company, Vingroup. The new facility will have a capacity of 5 GWh in its first phase and is expected to be fully operational by the end of this year.
In total, the VinFast lineup will consist of five vehicles, all of them crossovers. At the entry-level is the city-sized VF 5, likely built specifically for regions like Asia and Europe where narrow roads are common. Slotting above that is the VF 6, a subcompact utility vehicle that’s likely going to be the least expensive model for the U.S. market. Above that will be the VF 7, a compact crossover with the potential to become one of VinFast’s high-volume models.
The VF 8 is essentially a tweener, a mid-size SUV with seating for five similar to the Hyundai Santa Fe and Honda Passport. Its starting price is around $41,000 and is one of the models that you can reserve now. With a combined output of 402 hp and 472 lb-ft of torque, VinFast says it can hit 60 mph in 5.5 seconds. In the WLTP cycle, the VF 8 is good for 317 miles per charge. Expect a lower figure on the more conservative EPA cycle.
At the top of the range is the three-row VF 9, which has the same combined output as the VF 8. However, it’s rated for 422 miles in the WLTP cycle, hinting at a larger standard battery pack. The VF 9 hits 60 mph in 6.5 seconds, a full second slower than the VF 8. You can also preorder it on VinFast’s website starting at $56,000.