Construction paused at VinFast's NC site as carmaker seeks a smaller footprint

Brian Gordon, The News & Observer on

Published in Business News

Nearly nine months after VinFast broke ground on its planned $4 billion electric vehicle factory in North Carolina, construction at the Chatham County site has stalled while local officials await updated building plans from the Vietnamese carmaker.

Chatham County confirmed Tuesday what News & Observer drone footage makes clear: No significant vertical construction has occurred at the campus, which sits about 30 miles southwest of downtown Raleigh near the unincorporated town of Moncure.

The current holdup dates back to last July when Chatham approved a foundation permit for VinFast to build a 995,000-square-foot general assembly area. Later that month, VinFast welcomed local and state leaders, including Gov. Roy Cooper, to celebrate what the company promised would be its first factory outside of Vietnam — a facility capable of churning out 150,000 electric vehicles a year while employing 7,500 workers.

But on Dec. 8, VinFast revised its assembly plant designs. Instead of a 995,000-square-foot structure, it now asked Chatham for one that only covered 782,250 square feet. Where the original assembly area design made a U-shape, the new layout is more rectangular, said David Camp, Chatham’s director of permits and inspections, as a truck loading dock featured in the middle of the original design was cut out.

Camp said the smaller footprint doesn’t necessarily indicate VinFast will scale back its promised production or employment at the site, noting it “could mean that they’re being more efficient about the space inside.”

But he said it’s up to the company to make the next step. On Dec. 13, Chatham County posted comments on the revised design. Nine days later, the car company submitted additional vertical building plans that Camp said “did not address our comments.”


On Dec. 28, Chatham asked VinFast to submit a comprehensive plan for the assembly plant’s foundation and vertical design. VinFast has not yet done this.

“No construction is being done until this permit revision is issued,” county spokesperson Kara Lusk said in an email Tuesday.

VinFast’s approaching NC deadlines

The general assembly building is one of several structures the car company has said it hopes to erect at the Moncure site. Site plans submitted last summer included almost 3 million square feet spread across eight structures. The Chicago-based developer Clayco is leading the project.


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