VinFast faces further delay on $4 billion North Carolina factory, sources say

Vietnamese electric car maker VinFast is likely to further delay the construction of its $4 billion factory in North Carolina as the company faces challenges in gaining traction with U.S. consumers. Initially announced in 2022, the factory was expected to have an annual production capacity of 150,000 vehicles and leverage U.S. subsidies for domestically produced EVs.

The factory’s completion date was initially set for July 2024 but was later pushed to 2025. Now, another delay is under consideration, according to an anonymous source familiar with the situation. VinFast confirmed to Reuters that it is conducting a thorough review and evaluation of the construction process. Ground was broken for the factory in Chatham County, North Carolina, in July. The county government noted that VinFast has twice revised the size of the factory’s general assembly building, with the latest revision still under review.

When the North Carolina factory was first announced, President Joe Biden praised the project, emphasizing that it would create over 7,000 jobs and align with his economic strategy. However, VinFast’s low sales in North America—fewer than 1,000 cars last year—pose a significant hurdle. Additionally, the EV maker faces legal issues in the U.S., including a lawsuit for unpaid showroom rent and two probes: one for a fatal crash involving a VinFast VF 8 car in California and another for alleged patent violations concerning aluminum used in the VF 8.

Globally, VinFast sold fewer than 35,000 cars last year, with most sales occurring in Vietnam. Despite an annual production capacity of 300,000 vehicles in its northern Vietnam factory, the company reported a net loss of $2.4 billion last year. Despite these setbacks, VinFast aims to sell 100,000 cars this year, double its target for 2023, as it continues its international expansion.

Nevertheless, VinFast plans to broaden its vehicle lineup by June, including right-hand drive models for markets like Thailand and Indonesia. The company also intends to deliver the VF e34 model and launch the VF 5 model within the second quarter.

Anna Harden

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