VinFast US factory could be further delayed

Vietnamese automaker VinFast could postpone its US EV factory again. The new rumour comes at a time when even legacy automakers are pushing back EV-related commitments due to weakening demand.

Image: VinFast

In 2022, VinFast initially said that it expected to start making EVs in the US in July 2024, but later it postponed the start of production (SOP) to 2025. Now, a report from Reuters says that it is considering a second delay in the localisation project. The company wants to manufacture not only electric cars but also electric buses and EV batteries in the US. Its American production site will include an area for suppliers as well.

The Reuters report says that VinFast changed the size of its US factory’s general assembly building twice, with the latest revision submitted in April and still under review by the local authority. In the original announcement, VinFast said that it plans to build an 800-hectare (1,977-acre) production facility within the Triangle Innovation Point megasite in Chatham County, North Carolina. When it broke ground a year later, it said the US plant would cover an area of 1,800 acres and consist of five production areas: a body shop, general assembly, press shop, paint shop and an energy centre.

According to the report, less than 1,000 of the 34,855 VinFast EVs sold globally in 2023 went to customers in North America. The company’s domestic factory, which has an annual production capacity of 300,000 cars, is vastly underutilized. A new high-volume production facility could further increase the company’s financial burden. It expects the upcoming overseas factory in the US to have an annual production capacity of 150,000 units and plans to make the VF 7, VF 8, and VF 9 there.

Just last month, VinFast CEO Thuy Le reaffirmed during the company’s Q1 2024 earnings conference call that it is on track to commence production in the US by the end of 2025. The company currently only offers the VF 8 but it plans to launch the VF 9 in late Q2 and then the VF 7 in early Q3. VinFast retail network in the US comprises company-owned and franchised outlets, and there are 27 showrooms at present: one each in Connecticut, New York, North Carolina, and Kansas, three in Texas, five in Florida, and 15 in California.


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