Uncertainty surrounding EV maker with plans to build in Chatham County after announcing layoffs

By Theresa Opeka

Raleigh, NC – A Vietnamese electric vehicle maker with plans to build a production plant in Chatham County may be in trouble after announcing it is cutting 80 jobs in the U.S., including its chief financial officer, all before delivering its first vehicle. 

The news comes before VinFast even delivers its first vehicle to the U.S. and ahead of a possible stock listing.

Reports say that in addition to the job cuts, Rodney Haynes, finance chief of VinFast U.S., has left amid a company restructuring. The same reports say there were also layoffs in Canada.

The job cuts are just the latest in a series of bad news for the company.

Late last month, VinFast announced that it was consolidating its U.S. and Canadian strategic business and management operations into a single unit called VinFast North America, headquartered in Los Angeles.

Vinfast told Bloomberg.com that the restructuring aimed to better serve customers in the region and that it has been working with local service providers to improve efficiency. Company officials didn’t respond to messages from Bloomberg.

According to insideevs.com, the first shipment of VF 8 electric cars to the U.S. has been delayed until late February due to software updates.

Last March, Vinfast was awarded an incentive package worth nearly $1.2 billion in incentives over the next 32 years paid by taxpayers of Chatham County and the state of North Carolina. The deal was tied to VinFast’s announced plans to build a $4 billion electric-vehicle assembly and battery-manufacturing plant at Triangle Innovation Point in Moncure, about 30 miles west of the Triangle.

VinFast said they planned to create 7,500 jobs at the Chatham County plant, with an average salary of $51,096. Vinfast was founded in 2017 and is the first Vietnamese car company to expand globally. It selected North Carolina for its first North American plant to build a new line of electric vehicles and batteries. It would also be the state’s first car manufacturing plant.

Construction was supposed to start last year, but the automaker is still waiting for regulatory approval that would permanently impact nearby waterways. The U.S. Army Corp of Engineers is currently reviewing the 284-page permit application.

The state has had ongoing issues with businesses following through on their promises to fulfill their job commitments. Advanced Auto Parts, Microsoft, Sonic Automotive, and Conduent are among the companies that failed to complete their employment agreements with the state, despite economic incentives.

This article first appeared in the Carolina Journal. Carolina Journal called VinFast for comment during the company’s business hours, but a recording said their offices were closed. CJ also reached out via email but did not receive a response prior to the publication of this article.