Plans to build electric vehicles at a proposed EV production plant in Chatham County have hit another pothole. Vietnamese electric vehicle maker VinFast announced Friday that it will push off production until 2025.
According to Reuters.com, the company said in a statement, “We need more time to complete administrative procedures.”
The statement didn’t specify when in 2025 the plant would start operations. VinFast delivered its first 45 cars in the U.S. to California last week.
The statement is the latest in a series of ups and downs for the company’s plans in North Carolina.
A VinFast representative confirmed in an emailed statement to Carolina Journal that the issuance of the permit clears the way for Phase 1 of the construction plan for the project to begin.
Phase 1 is expected to produce 150,000 vehicles per year. According to the N.C. Department of Commerce, vehicles to be produced at the site include the VinFast VF 9, a seven-passenger all-electric SUV; and the VinFast VF 8, a five-passenger, all-electric mid-size SUV. Phase 2 will focus on battery production.
The company is still awaiting approval for a 284-page permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
Construction was supposed to start last year, but the automaker is still waiting for regulatory approval on if the project would permanently impact nearby waterways.
New access roads and two new interchanges off U.S. 1 are also planned in preparation for the site.
NCDEQ’s approval has been the only good news for the vehicle maker.
The news comes after job cuts, and a realignment of its North American operations was reported last month.
In addition to the 80 layoffs, Rodney Haynes, finance chief of VinFast U.S., has left amid a company restructuring. The same reports say there were also layoffs in Canada.
In January, 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.
A year ago, 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.
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.