Permit issue halts construction at future VinFast car manufacturing plant in Chatham County

Cindy Bae Image
Wednesday, April 17, 2024
Problems force halt to construction at VinFast's Chatham County site
Construction Vinfast's multi-billion dollar car manufacturing factory in Chatham County has come to a screeching halt.

PITTSBORO, N.C. (WTVD) -- It has been nearly nine months since electric car maker VinFast broke ground on a brand new multi-billion dollar factory in Chatham County.

The announcement touted thousands of new jobs and a vast assembly plant design, but as of April, little progress has been made with no vertical construction in sight.

This comes as excitement from investors in the company has cooled. The company's stock is trading at around $2-3 per share -- a far cry from the $80 price tag it had in August 2023. The company has also reported falling short on sales and earnings in the first quarter of 2024.

"No construction is being done until this permit revision is issued," Chatham County spokesperson Kara Lusk said.

Several permits are being reviewed, including a Foundation Permit that VinFast recently downscaled, according to the latest plan.

In July 2023, the Chatham County Central Permitting and Inspections Department issued a Foundation Permit for the General Assembly building listed at 995,500 square feet. However, VinFast submitted a revised foundation plan that changed it to a smaller footprint of 782,255 square feet.

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Gov. Roy Cooper announced on Tuesday that a Vietnamese electric car company will build a plant in Chatham County that will create at least 7,500 jobs.

The structure is also different in the latest plan, that shows it looking more rectangular compared to the U-shape in the original design.

ABC11 reached out to VinFast for comment but has not heard back as of Wednesday.

Lusk said an application has been submitted for the body shop building that is being reviewed, as well as a separate trade permit application for onsite water and sewer that is also being reviewed.

"The Central Permitting and Inspections Department has issued several permits for retaining walls, which are under construction, and Central Permitting and Inspections has also issued trade permits for generators," Lusk said. "A related permit has been issued for a Sanford Pump Station that will serve VinFast."

While construction is at a halt, some people who live nearby the construction site just outside of the town of Moncure said they're concerned about its impact in the rural area.

"I'm afraid this is going to be a mess," JC Smith said. "I just wonder when they get that car plant down there, if the traffic is still going to be coming by here, if there's going to be another entrance over there."

Smith said he doesn't mind the factory bringing in more people and jobs, but it'll be something some of the long-term residents will have to deal with.

"I just wish that they did it somewhere else," Smith's wife said. "I don't think that they are actually being fair to the older generation."

VinFast has not made Chatham County aware of any changes in their capital investment or job creation numbers of about 7,500, according to Lusk.