Construction to Begin on North Carolina’s First Auto Plant

Vietnam-Based VinFast to Build Electric Vehicles
VinFast VF8
The VinFast VF8. (Guillem Hernandez/VinFast/TNS)

[Stay on top of transportation news: Get TTNews in your inbox.]

A date has been set for North Carolina’s first car manufacturing plant to officially break ground.

On July 28, VinFast will launch formal construction of its planned $4 billion electric vehicle production and assembly plant, near the Chatham County town of Moncure, about 30 miles southwest of Raleigh. A relatively new automaker, VinFast anticipates the plant will initially produce 150,000 vehicles a year, with a target opening in 2025.

“When it begins operations, the factory will be VinFast’s primary supplier of electric vehicles to the North American market, allowing us to optimize production and business activities,” VinFast Auto CEO Le Thi Thu Thuy said in a statement.

Founded in 2017, VinFast is a subsidiary of the Vietnamese conglomerate Vingroup, which is owned by the wealthiest man in the Southeast Asian country. Since pivoting to a fully electric car lineup in 2021, VinFast has spent billions in pursuit of its global ambitions.

The plant is expected to cover approximately 1,800 acres. A zoning permit application filed last week to the Chatham County Planning Department projects the site’s initial phase, which includes almost 3 million square feet of space.

VinFast represents a milestone for North Carolina officials, who have repeatedly tried to recruit a major automaker to the state. In recent decades, the state has attempted to land Volkswagen, BMW, Volvo, Mercedes and a joint Toyota-Mazda plant, only to watch each instead select nearby southeastern states.

In March 2022, North Carolina and VinFast officials announced their partnership.

The automaker has since experienced setbacks, including poor reviews for its first U.S. car and a delay in its Chatham plant timeline. So far, around 350 VinFast cars have been delivered to U.S. customers, a company spokesperson told The News & Observer.

By 2028, VinFast has committed to create 7,500 area jobs. Between the state and Chatham County, the company is set up to receive incentives worth $1.25 billion if it meets its hiring and investment goals.

Want more news? Listen to today's daily briefing above or go here for more info

Construction will be divided into two phases, with the first focused on car production and the second on manufacturing electric vehicle batteries.

“The project has received basic permits to begin Phase 1 construction,” the company said.

On Feb. 9, the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality issued the company an air quality permit. The state has also approved multiple permits for erosion and sediment control plans.

DEQ is still reviewing VinFast’s applications related to water quality and buffers, and the company is in the process of applying for a dam safety permit for its stormwater ponds.

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC