VinFast has just announced an initial agreement to invest $2 billion to build a plant in North Carolina to make electric buses, sports vehicles (SUVs) along with batteries for electric vehicles.
VinFast said it plans to have a total investment of US$4 billion in the first US manufacturing complex.
Construction will begin this year as soon as the company obtains the necessary permits, and is expected to be completed by July 2024. The plant's initial capacity is 150,000 units per year, Vinfast said.
“With manufacturing facilities right in the US market, VinFast can stabilize prices and shorten product delivery times, making our electric vehicles more accessible to customers,” said Nguyen Thi Thu Thuy, vice chairman of Vingroup and CEO of VinFast Global.
See also: VinFast become only fully electric cars manufacture before 2022 ends
VinFast has started taking pre-orders globally for its two electric SUVs. They plan to start shipping them in the fourth quarter.
US President Joe Biden said the VinFast investment would create more than 7,000 jobs. It will be the first auto factory in North Carolina and the state's history.
VinFast says the price of its VF8 sports SUV starts at $41,000 in the United States. In comparison, Tesla's SUV sells for around $63,000. VinFast targets global electric vehicle sales of 42,000 units this year.
VinFast is betting big on the US market, where it hopes to compete with automakers and incumbent startups with affordable electric SUVs and battery rental models.
See also: Only Served Shortly, VinFast CEO Resigns for Personal Reason
Other electric vehicle startups such as Rivian and Lucid have cut their production targets this year due to supply chain disruptions caused by the coronavirus, which hit their share prices.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk said last year, “It's very difficult to achieve production volumes at an affordable unit cost.”
VinFast, which became Vietnam's first domestic automaker in 2019, plans to switch to electric vehicle production from late 2022. Outside North America, the company is looking for factories in Germany, he said.
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