Fast Car

VinFast will break ground on North Carolina’s first automobile production plant this Friday.

As we first reported back in March of last year, the Vietnamese electric car maker will spend $4 billion on the massive Chatham County project, its first in North America. The company says it will create 7,500 new high-paying jobs in the next five years and produce 150,000 electric vehicles annually when the plant begins production in 2025. That makes it one of the South’s largest manufacturing facilities and the single largest economic development project in North Carolina’s history.

VinFast secured the necessary environmental permits from the state’s Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) earlier this year to begin Phase 1 construction of the facility, which will be located at the eastern end of Triangle Innovation Point near the small town of Moncure, about 30 miles southwest of Raleigh. According to a commercial zoning compliance permit filing with the Chatham County Planning Department, the facility will occupy nearly 3,000,000 square feet spread over 1,800 acres in eight different buildings, including a 955,000-square-foot general assembly building and an 800,000-square-foot body shop. The plans also included a rendering of the main building (see above).

“The manufacturing facility in North Carolina is one of VinFast’s key projects,” said Madame Le Thi Thu Thuy, CEO of VinFast Auto. “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’s historic ground-breaking in Chatham County comes amidst tangible progress being made in recent weeks by other high-profile projects in the Tar Heel state. In addition to Apple submitting its initial site development plans in the Research Triangle Park with Wake County, Axios reports that Durham-based semiconductor company Wolfspeed has secured a necessary permit from DEQ to begin construction on its $5 billion manufacturing plant, what will be the world’s largest silicon carbide materials facility.

“Chatham County worked closely with the Chatham County Economic Development Corporation (CCEDC), along with multiple local, regional, and state partners to attract the project,” says the county’s website. “In addition to the NC Department of Commerce and the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina, other key partners in the project include NC Governor Roy Cooper, the NC General Assembly, Central Carolina Community College and the NC Community College System, NC Department of Transportation, NC Department of Environmental Quality, NC State Ports Authority, NC Railroad Company, the Golden Leaf Foundation, Triangle J Council of Governments, Duke Energy, Dominion Energy, CSX, Samet Corporation, the City of Sanford, Lee-Moore Capital Company, and JLL offices in Washington D.C. and Raleigh.”

According to the 2022 annual report from the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina (EDPNC), the state secured 151 corporate relocations and expansions, which brought in 27,144 jobs and a total of $15.58 billion in capital investment, nearly eclipsing the combined total of 2021 ($10.01 billion ) and 2020 ($6.3 billion).

“Last year North Carolina welcomed the largest economic development projects in its history, results directly attributable to our highly educated workforce, world-class education, excellent quality of life and strong public and private partnerships,” said Christopher Chung, CEO of the EDPNC. “Our annual report shows those successes and how the pieces came together to make them happen.”

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