Vinfast plans to expand its production footprint almost as fast as its growing lineup.
The Vietnamese electric vehicle startup, which was only established in 2017, presented five vehicles in January during the 2022 Consumer Electronics Show and confirmed at the time plans to start sales in the U.S. by the end of the year.
Currently, Vinfast produces all of its vehicles in Vietnam but the company on Tuesday announced plans to construct a plant in Chatham County, North Carolina. The plant will be used for both electric vehicle and battery production, and have an initial annual capacity of 150,000 vehicles.
Vinfast has earmarked $2 billion for the first phase of the plant, whose construction will begin this year. The plant is scheduled to be operational in 2024, with the first vehicles confirmed as the VF 8 and VF 9 SUVs. The plant will also be used to build electric buses eventually.
Vinfast VF 9
Vinfast CEO Le Thi Thu Thuy previously said batteries built at its U.S. plant will initially use cells from suppliers but eventually the company will also produce its own cells. She has also said that Vinfast is looking to add a vehicle plant in Germany.
Vinfast's current vehicle plant is located in Hai Phong, Vietnam. The site will be gradually expanded to boost annual capacity to 950,000 vehicles by 2026. Vinfast also has a battery plant under construction in Vietnam. It will have an initial capacity of five gigawatt-hours and is scheduled to be operational by late 2022.
To help raise funds for its expansion, Vinfast is considering listing shares on an exchange in the U.S.
The first Vinfasts to go on sale in the U.S. will be the VF 8 mid-size SUV and VF 9 full-size SUV. The vehicles are priced from $41,000 and $56,000, respectively, though owners will need to sign up for a battery subscription plan. Vinfast said the monthly cost for driving will be approximately equal to current gasoline costs.