VinFast plant expected to produce big boost in local property tax revenue

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PITTSBORO — The electric vehicle plant planned for the Triangle Innovation Point industrial site near Moncure is expected to boost property tax revenue for Chatham County each year by about 25%, according to economic impact projections.

VinFast’s manufacturing plant is expected to generate $529 million in property tax revenue over 20 years, Chatham County Economic Development Corporation President Michael Smith said during a briefing for Accelerate 2026 investors at Chatham Mills last Tuesday in Pittsboro. 

That comes out to about $26 million a year. For 2022, Chatham County appropriated about $101 million in total property tax revenue.

It was Smith’s first presentation to the group — formed in part to support the EDC’s marketing efforts — since the vehicle factory plan was announced March 29. The Vietnam-based company’s plan for some 7,500 jobs and $4 billion in investment in two phases is North Carolina’s first automotive assembly plant and is considered the state’s largest-ever economic development project.

Smith noted the project’s location in the geographic center of North Carolina means it can affect a fifth of the state’s population, which is 10.5 million as of 2021.

“It’s really uplifting to think about how many people’s lives we get to have a part of,” Smith said.

Consultant Economic Leadership Inc.’s analysis of VinFast’s economic impact for the Chatham EDC determined that even though a majority of workers at VinFast would come from other counties, Chatham County still stands to add 6,887 jobs once the plant is fully scaled. Across the region, the expected total of new jobs is 20,190.

In addition, over 20 years, the plant would create about $7 billion in earnings from plant workers and ripple effects. The top job areas are expected to be 221 in sales, 184 in transportation, 151 in office and administration, and 141 in business and financial operations.

Smith related some of the story of how the project came together. Last fall, his office learned that Vinfast was considering some 50 sites across the United States for the project, code-named “Project Blue.” In November, VinFast whittled down that list of sites — crossing out the Chatham Siler-City Advanced Manufacturing Site in Siler City but keeping TIP in the running.

On Dec. 15, a half-day virtual meeting with the client was held, with about a dozen people on screen. Then Smith and his team in Chatham County learned Dec. 21 that company representatives wanted to see the site from a helicopter the following day.

A week later, on Dec. 28, Smith and his team received a 31-page request for information that needed to be provided by Jan. 19. A VinFast team then came for a Jan. 10 meeting at the Raleigh Executive Jetport in Sanford.

And then they learned on the night of the final Sunday in March that the TIP site had won out, and VinFast wanted to tour the site the next morning. They, along with N.C. Gov. Roy Cooper, then gathered in Raleigh that Tuesday for the announcement.

Smith thanked his staff and others with roles in landing the project. He also thanked the Moncure Fire Department for hosting several meetings there.

“We always made sure we brought extra biscuits for the firemen,” he said. “They were always kind and helpful to us.”

One key to landing the project, Smith added, was already having sewer service to the site, in the form of a recently completed extension to the city of Sanford; having to tell prospective clients sewer service is merely in the works is less helpful. 

“We already had it built,” Smith said, “and that made a huge difference.”

Another was seaport proximity. While Georgia was in the running thanks to the larger port of Savannah, other attributes to the Chatham County site helped it beat out all others, Smith said.

A VinFast spokesman said ports are for raw materials. 

“Access to all forms of convenient shipping and transportation corridors inclusive of sea ports, rail and air are extremely important for any manufacturing operation in terms of moving raw materials to and from the plant in the most efficient and cost effective manner possible,” VinFast Director of Communications Jeff Holland told the News+Record in an email.

In response to questions, Smith said VinFast has planned for two construction phases over six to seven years, with vehicles expected to come off the assembly line in mid-2024. In addition to two models of electric sport-utility vehicles, the company plans to build vehicle batteries and electric buses at the site, he added.

One remaining issue, however, is how the company will sell to consumers. North Carolina law requires auto manufacturers in most cases to sell through franchised dealerships. N.C. made an exception for Tesla, which sells directly to consumers.

Asked about it, Smith said, “We’re still working on that.”

Holland said VinFast is developing its U.S. retail strategy and will have more information soon.

VinFast also announced a battery subscription plan intended to provide peace of mind regarding the crucial component of its products. If the batteries encounter problems or charging capacity dips below 80%, customers may have the batteries changed at no cost, Holland said.

According to a company press release, there will be two options. One plan is for low use: For $35 or $44 a month depending on the SUV model bought, a customer gets 310 miles and then pays 11 or 15 cents a mile beyond that. The other plan comes with unlimited mileage and costs $110 or $160 a month, depending on the model.

The battery subscription policy is for electric vehicles sold in 2022 and 2023. From 2024 onward, only 50% of vehicles sold will be eligible for the battery subscription program. The remaining cars will be sold with batteries.

“By separating the price of the battery from the acquisition value of the automobile, VinFast takes on all the risks related to the vehicle’s battery and ensures a reasonable price for its products, while providing customers with peace of mind about the battery’s quality during use,” the release says.

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