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As global automakers have moved into the southern United States over the past few decades, one state has apparently been unable to land a major auto plant despite a series of attempts spanning decades.
Thirty years ago, North Carolina lost out to neighboring South Carolina over a BMW plant that would eventually become the company’s largest. And just recently, talks with electric vehicle startup Rivian came to nothing amid state restrictions on direct vehicle sales. This project eventually went to another neighbour: Georgia.
The state’s streak of near-misses, however, appears to be over. North Carolina officials announced that VinFast would establish its first auto assembly plant in the United States: a $4 billion electric vehicle factory southwest of Raleigh.
VinFast, part of the Vingroup conglomerate, sells electric and internal combustion vehicles in its native Vietnam, and unveiled a pair of SUVs at the Los Angeles Auto Show last year as part of ambitious plans for the American market. The company hopes to start taking orders from the United States in the coming weeks and begin deliveries of vehicles imported from Vietnam later this year.
The company plans to sell its vehicles through a network of outlets and establish its US plant in 2024. The plant, which is expected to add 7,500 workers by 2027, would be able to produce 150,000 vehicles per year.
VinFast awarded the choice of North Carolina over a competing site in Georgia to local labor, approximately $450 million in government funding for site preparation, and more than $300 million in potential tax incentives over more than 30 years.
While the announcement represented a first for the state, it will be far from the only auto-related manufacturing operation in North Carolina. Toyota also plans to build a $1.3 billion plant near Greensboro to produce batteries for its electric vehicles.
Image Credit: Thomas Industry Update