Work on VinFast’s $4bn North Carolina EV plant stalled amid downsizing plans

VinFast officially broke ground on the plant in Chatham County on 28 July last year, but little has been done since (VinFast’s photograph)
Work has paused at Vietnamese electric vehicle (EV) maker VinFast’s $4bn factory in North Carolina as officials review the company’s proposals to shrink it.

Questions have been asked about the lack of activity at the site in Moncure, Chatham County since the company officially broke ground on 28 July 2023.

The company said then that the first phase of its first factory outside Vietnam would create “thousands of jobs” in the rural community and would be making 150,000 EVs a year in 2025.

But local newspaper The News & Observer reports that no significant vertical construction has occurred at the site since then.

Now it has emerged that in December 2023 VinFast sought permission from Chatham County to cut the size of the plant’s footprint by about 21%, from 995,500 square feet to 782,255 square feet, The Carolina Journal reports today.

The Journal quotes a county spokesperson as saying: “This permit is currently under review. No construction is being done until this permit revision is issued.”

The spokesperson added: “VinFast has not made us aware of any changes in their capital investment or job creation numbers of about 7,500.”

VinFast chairwoman Le Thi Thu Thuy told investors on an earnings call yesterday that “North Carolina is still ongoing”, Axios reports.

She added: “We’re still on track to start the operation by the end of next year.”

When the county and VinFast first announced the factory in March 2022, the company expected to start production in July this year.

Yesterday, VinFast released its unaudited results for the first quarter of this year, showing revenue of $302.6m, up 269% on Q1 2023, but a gross loss of $150.8m in the quarter.

Meanwhile, to secure VinFast’s investment, Chatham County offered incentives of $1.25bn, including more than $300m in payroll tax breaks.

According to the terms of the agreement, VinFast pledged to create at least 1,997 jobs by the end of this year, according to The News & Observer.

VinFast debuted on the Nasdaq Stock Exchange in August last year after merging with Black Spade, a special purpose acquisition company.

Its share price spiked soon after to $68.77, but shares are trading today at below $3.

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