North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper and VinFast CEO Le Thi Thu Thuy sit inside a VinFast electric vehicle at Tuesday’s announcement in Raleigh. Photo by Gordon Anderson

RALEIGH — Gov. Roy Cooper announced today that Vietnamese electric automaker VinFast will make a $4 billion investment in North Carolina with a new factory at Chatham County’s Triangle Innovation Point, a 2,150-acre advanced manufacturing site formerly known as the Moncure Megasite located roughly 12 miles from downtown Sanford.

VinFast will produce both electric automobiles and the batteries that power them at the site just off of U.S. 1 between Pea Ridge Road and Christian Chapel Church Road.

Cooper said VinFast will have a ripple effect on the state and local economy — creating opportunities for not only engineers and technicians, but vendors and suppliers “from far and wide.” The site could also transform the landscape of U.S. 1 between Apex and Sanford.

“[VinFast] could have gone anywhere in the world to build a state-of-the-art center, but they chose to build their first North American factory right here in North Carolina,” Cooper said at a well-attended press conference in downtown Raleigh, standing alongside VinFast CEO Le Thi Thu Thuy. “They know about our strong workforce, they know about our high quality of life, they know about our great business climate, and they know about our commitment to clean energy.”

That commitment, Cooper said, includes recent legislation to reduce the state’s carbon emissions in the power sector by 70 percent by 2030 and to hit carbon neutrality by 2050. Cooper’s Executive Order 46 calls for more electric vehicles on North Carolina roads.

“Now some of them will be made right here in our state,” he said.

State Rep. and House Democratic Leader Robert Reives called the announcement “arguably the largest investment in North Carolina history by a private company.”

“Over the last year, Gov. Cooper announced 24,000 jobs bringing $10.1 billion of capital investment North Carolina, and that’s an all time high,” he said. “But just today, we are announcing $4 billion in investments and 7,500 jobs. I mean, if that doesn’t give you perspective, I don’t know what does.”

In addition to being the largest economic development project ever announced in the state, VinFast will be North Carolina’s first OEM (original equipment manufacturer) facility, according to Cooper.

VinFast’s factory will create a major manufacturing center on a 1,977 acre plot for Phase 1 with three main areas: electric cars and buses production and assembly, EVs batteries production and ancillary industries for suppliers. Construction for Phase 1 of the factory will start in 2022 after the construction permit is granted, and production is expected to start in July 2024. The capacity of Phase 1 is expected to be 150,000 vehicles per year.

Vehicles to be produced at the site include the VinFast VF 9, a seven-passenger all-electric Sport Utility Vehicle (SUV) and the VinFast VF 8, a five-passenger, all-electric mid-size SUV.

The North Carolina Department of Commerce coordinated the state’s recruitment of VinFast, which also involved state, regional and local organizations.

“Automotive assembly plants are incredible engines for economic growth, due to the positive ripple effects they create across a region’s economy,” said state Commerce Secretary Machelle Baker Sanders. “I’m so pleased that VinFast has decided to launch their North America 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.”

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper and VinFast CEO Le Thi Thu Thuy at Tuesday’s announcement in Raleigh. Photo by Gordon Anderson

VinFast, founded in 2017 as a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Vietnamese conglomerate Vingroup, is a global producer of premium automobiles. Headquartered in Hanoi, Vietnam, with a state-of-the-art vehicle production facility in Hai Phong, Vietnam, that has the capacity to produce 950,000 vehicles per year by 2026. VinFast has established global operations in the U.S., Canada, Germany, France and the Netherlands. The company currently provides an ecosystem of EV products in its home country of Vietnam, including e-scooters, electric buses and electric cars, charging station system and green energy solutions.

Last November, VinFast announced the VF e35 and VF e36 (now named the VF 8 and VF 9) at the 2021 Los Angeles Auto Show. The company introduced three new EVs (the VF 5, VF 6 and VF 7) at the 2022 Consumer Electronics Show (CES), which combined with the earlier models allows the company to serve all five major vehicle segments, from small crossover to large SUV. Each vehicle embodies VinFast’s goal of offering leading technology with a premium experience at an attainable price point. Reservations for VF 8 and VF 9 was announced globally at the beginning of 2022.

“North Carolina’s strong commitments in building a clean energy economy, fighting climate change and reducing greenhouse gas emissions in transportation make it an ideal location for VinFast to develop its premium, smart and environmentally friendly EVs.” said Le Thi Thu Thuy. “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.”

VinFast is the only premium car producer in Vietnam and has been growing with an impressive rate. The company completed the construction of its factory in Haiphong and developed its first three car models in just 21 months.

Operations at VinFast’s automotive manufacturing complex in Hai Phong, Vietnam are 90% automated. The facilities are capable of producing up to 250,000 cars and up to 500,000 electric scooters a year. Photo: VinFast

VinFast’s project in the state, which will officially be executed through a newly formed company, will be facilitated in part by a Transformative Job Development Investment Grant (JDIG) approved by the state’s Economic Investment Committee earlier today. VinFast’s project is estimated to grow the state’s economy by at least $71.59 billion over 32 years, the time period when the grant could be active. Using a formula that takes into account the new tax revenues generated by the new jobs, as well as a company investment of $4 billion, the JDIG agreement authorizes the potential reimbursement to the company of up to $316.1 million, paid over a time period of 32 years.

Salaries for the new jobs will vary by position, but taken together will average $51,096, increasing the regional payroll by more than $383 million every year.

“Today’s announcement is another example of the continuing growth of North Carolina’s economy fueled by low taxes, a strong workforce, and reasonable regulations,” Sen. Phil Berger (R-Rockingham) said. “VinFast’s commitment to North Carolina solidifies our position as a global leader for fostering innovation and supporting businesses.”

“The arrival of Vinfast to North Carolina is great news for our state and for the thousands of North Carolinians who will fill the new jobs created as a result,” said North Carolina Speaker of the House Tim Moore. “Today’s announcement marks significant investments in infrastructure, transportation, and workforce development. North Carolina has distinguished itself as an attractive place for companies to land and continues to be recognized as a top state for businesses, thanks in large part to the hard work of the legislature that has resulted in lower taxes, fewer regulatory roadblocks, and a stronger workforce.”

“VinFast’s decision to build its new plant in North Carolina proves we are a top destination for world-class companies,” said Senator Dan Blue, Democratic Leader of the North Carolina Senate. “Today’s decision turbocharges North Carolina’s leadership in this exciting new industry of the future.”

Partnering with the North Carolina Department of Commerce and the Economic Development Partnership of N.C. on this project were the North Carolina General Assembly, the North Carolina Community College System, the North Carolina Departments of Transportation and Environmental Quality, the North Carolina State Ports Authority, the North Carolina Railroad Company, the GoldenLEAF Foundation, the Triangle J Council of Governments, Duke Energy, Dominion Energy, CSX, Chatham County, the City of Sanford, and the Chatham County Economic Development Corporation.