Is VinFast’s proposed electric vehicle factory in Chatham County doomed to fail?

By Theresa Opeka

Moncure, NC – VinFast is reportedly once again considering delaying the construction of its proposed $4 billion electric vehicle factory in Moncure, Chatham County.

A person ,who asked to remain anonymous because the matter isn’t public yet, told Reuters that the Vietnamese vehicle manufacturer is considering another delay with the plant.

In an emailed statement on Wednesday to Carolina Journal, a VinFast representative said only that, “VinFast is conducting a thorough review and evaluation of all aspects of the construction process for our North Carolina factory.”

Followers of the ongoing saga with the company know this isn’t the first time there has been a delay in bringing the project to fruition.

The company first announced plans in February 2022 to build on the 1,800-acre site. The plant was scheduled to open in 2024, but was delayed until 2025. A series of additional changes of the size of the plant followed.

Last month, Carolina Journal reported that in December 2023, VinFast submitted revised plans that changed the footprint and square footage of its General Assembly building to 782,255 square feet, a scaled-down version of the 995,500-square-foot building that was originally proposed.

A week later, on April 17, the company submitted revisions for its General Assembly building, with a new size of 810,100 square feet. 

Kara Lusk, public information officer for Chatham County, also confirmed to the Carolina Journal in an emailed statement last month that the county has up to 30 days to review the plans, and no other revisions have been received for other buildings.

Lusk told Carolina Journal in an email Wednesday that the Central Permitting & Inspections Department is completing its reviews and coordinating with the designer (Architect) on revisions to be made for the county to approve the revised plans.

In July, the county’s central permitting and inspections department issued a foundation permit for the 995,500-square-foot building. The company broke ground the same month on the building, with the North Carolina operation being viewed at the time as the “crown jewel of VinFast’s global expansion.” Officials said that 7,500 jobs would be created and 150,000 vehicles per year could be built in Phase 1 of the project.

Ms. Van Anh Nguyen, CEO of VinFast US Manufacturing, told the Carolina Journal in an emailed statement last month about why they changed the size of the assembly plant structure.

“To meet the main technology contractor’s design requirements more precisely, we are adjusting the dimensions of the General Assembly workshop,” she said. “By doing so, we can optimize the construction and operational costs of the factory once operational. The overall size of the factory remains unchanged.”

The county also had questions they submitted to the company in December. Nguyen didn’t address those questions but said VinFast submitted detailed factory design documents to Chatham County earlier this month and hopes to receive approval soon.

“We require significant time to collaborate with the design team and the technology contractor to finalize the technical design of the workshops,” she said. “The construction of the workshops must adhere to the equipment/technology contractor’s procedures.”

Lusk also said Wednesday that the county was still reviewing a permit application for the 850,564-square-foot body shop building and a separate trade permit application for onsite water and sewer.

The company has lost billions of dollars since 2021, despite such actions as a company merger with Black Spade Acquisition Company in August, which helped value the company at approximately $27 billion with an equity value of $23 billion.

The merger may have been more trouble than it was worth, however, as two law firms jointly filed a federal securities class action lawsuit against the company on April 12 on behalf of shareholders who allege VinFast’s misleading statements caused them to suffer financially due to securities fraud.

The statements, according to the lawsuit filed by New York City firms Pomerantz LLP and Bronstein and Gewirtz & Grossman LLC, include the amount of funding needed to expand the company’s operations and an overestimation of how many vehicles would be delivered by the company last year. 

Originally, VinFast offered only a small percentage of its tradeable shares on the public market, which drove the price to nearly $100 a share in late August. According to the Yale Journal on Regulation, special purpose acquisition companies, or “SPACs,” have delivered poor post-merger returns to shareholders for many years.

On Wednesday, the price of VinFast was hovering around $4.90 per share.

Under federal law, VinFast shareholders have 90 days to make their claim as a lead plaintiff.

VinFast has signed agreements with 13 dealers across the US to sell its vehicles, including Leith VinFast, Cary, and Triad VinFast, in Greensboro.


Theresa Opeka is the Executive Branch reporter for the Carolina Journal.