VinFast, the Vietnamese automaker under Vingroup, said Tuesday it will build its first U.S. factory in North Carolina, part of the company’s previously stated plans to invest and expand in the country.
The automotive newcomer said it will spend about $2 billion in the first phase of construction of the 1,976-acre North Carolina factory and will continue to invest in future phases. That first phase, which is expected to be completed by July 2024, will have the capacity to produce 150,000 vehicles annually.
VinFast plans to produce two passenger vehicles at the factory as well as electric buses, batteries for electric vehicles and ancillary industries for suppliers.
The VinFast VF 9, a 7-passenger all-electric SUV, and the VinFast VF 8, a 5-passenger, all-electric midsize SUV that will include blockchain technology to record orders and confirm ownership, will be produced at the U.S. factory, according to VinFast’s memorandum of understanding with North Carolina. Prices for the VF 9 and the VF 8 start at $56,000 and $41,000 in the U.S., respectively, the company shared at CES in January.
VinFast has had a fast and furious ride since it launched in 2017. The company became Vietnam’s first domestic car manufacturer when its gas-powered models reached consumers in 2019. VinFast has since promised to build only electric vehicles by late 2022.
It has also made the U.S. market one of its primary targets — an ambitious endeavor that will pit it against established companies like GM, Ford and Tesla as well as EV newcomers Rivian and Fisker.
At the LA Auto Show last November, VinFast showed off two electric crossovers that the company said it would bring to the U.S. market later this year. At the time, the company also announced plans to invest more than $200 million to open a U.S. headquarters based in Los Angeles, as well as more than 60 sales locations, multiple service centers and mobile service sites this year.
“Having a production facility right in the market will help VinFast to proactively manage its supply chain, maintain stabilized prices and shorten product supply time, making VinFast’s EVs more accessible to customers, contributing to the realization of local environmental improvement goals,” Le Thi Thu Thuy, Vingroup vice chair and VinFast global CEO, said in a statement.
VinFast, which started selling EVs in Vietnam at the end of 2021, is targeting global EV sales of 42,000 vehicles this year. Vingroup recently started construction on a battery plant in Ha Tinh, Vietnam that’s expected to begin running later this year with a capacity of 5 gigawatt hours per year. The company is also shopping for a plant in Germany, it said in January.