RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – In the largest economic development deal in North Carolina history, Vietnamese electric vehicle maker VinFast will invest more than $4 billion in North Carolina as it builds a plant in Chatham County that will bring an estimated 7,500 jobs.
The average wage for a worker at the plant will be $51,000.
VinFast, a startup that began in 2017, is investing a little more than $4 billion by 2026 in the plant while planning to begin construction on the plant this year and aiming to begin production in July 2024.
“Historic and groundbreaking, not only for North Carolina but for the entire country. Today we’re continuing to secure our clean energy future and protect our planet for generations to come,” said Gov. Roy Cooper (D-North Carolina).
Ahead of the announcement, a state committee approved incentives worth more than $1.2 billion, which includes a package of tax incentives and infrastructure improvements from the state worth $854 million as well as $400 million from Chatham County.
The incentives are provided over about three decades and are contingent on VinFast fulfilling its promises on hiring and investing in the state. With the project, state officials said they estimate North Carolina’s GDP will grow by $71.6 billion.
State officials said VinFast considered 29 sites in 12 states, with the final decision coming down to the site in Chatham County and a site in Savannah, Georgia.
“Our quality of life, our reputation, all of those things play into this. Many states have similar-type incentive packages,” said Cooper.
VinFast Global CEO Le Thi Thu Thuy said as the company moved recently to manufacture electric vehicles in Vietnam, “We became one of the country’s fastest-selling automakers.”
The company will build the plant at the Triangle Innovation Point megasite in Chatham County, located near U.S. 1.
“I think actually we’re going to see even faster economic growth in North Carolina given how we performed during the pandemic,” said N.C. State University economist Mike Walden. “The post-pandemic economy is now emerging. I think it’s going to be an exciting set of developments, a lot of innovation, a lot of new kinds of jobs.”
He estimated the project could lead to the creation of an additional 10,000 so-called “downstream jobs” and add about $1 billion in economic activity to the region and state annually.
“Businesses are looking more long-run. I think the pandemic has caused them to really think about, ‘we want to locate somewhere where the long-run prospects are good.’ North Carolina is a growing state,” Walden said. “The General Assembly has pushed down the corporate income tax rate, so businesses like that.”
He said as some companies have sought to locate in the large urban counties, VinFast’s investment in Chatham County speaks to larger issues of bringing more investment to the rural parts of the state.
“That’s exactly what we need to do. We need to sort of spread out the wealth to some of these smaller counties, more rural counties. That also takes pressure off of housing prices in the core counties,” Walden said.
President Joe Biden released the following statement on the announcement:
Today’s announcement that the electric vehicle maker VinFast will build an electric vehicle and battery manufacturing facility in North Carolina – $4 billion to create more than 7,000 jobs and hundreds of thousands of electric vehicles and batteries – is the latest example of my economic strategy at work. It builds on recent announcements from companies like GM, Ford, and Siemens to invest in America again and create jobs. Our efforts to build a clean energy economy are driving companies to make more in America rebuild our supply chains here at home, and ultimately bring down costs for the American people.
Since taking office, we have implemented an industrial strategy to revitalize domestic manufacturing with create good-paying American jobs, strengthen American supply chains, and supercharge the industries of the future like electric vehicles – and we see that strategy paying off day after day. Last year, I signed the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to build out EV charging infrastructure and brought together the United Autoworkers and automakers at the White House to sign an executive order to get 50% electric vehicle sales share in 2030.
Congress has an opportunity with competitiveness legislation like the Bipartisan Innovation Act to double down on the progress we’ve made rebuilding our industrial base to create more good-paying jobs, make more in America – including semiconductors needed by our auto industry – and lower prices for working families.