Vietnam’s Vinfast to establish EV facilities in Tamil Nadu, makes big promises

  • VinFast will establish EV and battery manufacturing facilities in Thoothukudi and says these will generate around 3,500 jobs.
Officials from VinFast are seen here with Tamil Nadu CM MK Stalin and Union Minister Piyush Goyal at the signing of a joint agreement between the EV maker and the state government. (CMO, Tamil Nadu)

VinFast is fast emerging as a name and brand to reckon with in the world of electric vehicles (EVs). The company from Vietnam has already expanded its presence across many markets across the world, including the United States, and has now confirmed its India entry via a mammoth $2 billion investment into EV facilities in Tamil Nadu.

In an official statement, Vinfast announced it has an intended commitment of $500 million for the first five years of the project and that it has signed a joint agreement with the state government of Tamil Nadu. The construction of a battery plant and a facility to manufacture EVs will begin from this calendar year itself – in Tamil Nadu’s Thoothukudi – and once both are fully functional, will generate up to 3,500 jobs in the state.

Entering the Indian market at this point in time may be as beneficial for VinFast as it could be to accelerate the EV adoption in India. India is the world’s third largest car market in the world – in terms of sales, but EV penetration is still quite small. What this may mean is enormous potential that VinFast is looking to tap into. And choosing Tamil Nadu as its base of operations in the country is stemming from its assessment that the state has enormous potential to be India’s EV hub. “VinFast Tamil Nadu project aims to evolve into a first-class electric vehicle production hub in the region, with an annual capacity of up to 150,000 units. Construction of the plant is anticipated to begin in 2024. This project is set forth to lay a strong foundation for economic growth in Tamil Nadu and India as a whole,” the company said in its official statement. “Besides the economic benefits, the project will also pave the way for green transportation development, targeting 30% of newly registered private cars to be electric. This aligns with the state government’s initiatives to minimize carbon emissions in the transportation sector.”

File photo of Vinfast VF9 electric vehicle on the opening day of the Geneva International Motor Show that was held in Qatar in 2023. (Bloomberg)

How significant is VinFast in the world of EVs?

VinFast is one of the newer players in the globa EV race and comes from a country that has traditionally not had much to show in terms of its automobile manufacturing capabilities. But the EV game has levelled the play-field significantly, providing opportunities for established automobile champions as well as emerging EV companies.

Founded in 2017 by Pham Nhat Vuong, Vietnam’s first billionaire and who made his riches as a property developer, VinFast has been manufacturing EVs since 2021. It may have only been over two years of manufacturing EVs but VinFast has been busy. The company bought a manufacturing facility from GM in Australia while it is working to open another production hub in Indonesia that is scheduled to start rolling out models from 2026 onwards. It also began shipping its EVs to the US in early 2023 and opened its first dealership in the country last month. It is also establishing a manufacturing plant in North Carolina and is investing $4 billion in the country.

What kind of EVs does VinFast offer at present?

VinFast EV models are quite striking in their exterior design language even if the specifications are not the best in the industry just yet. The company offers small electric models like VF3 and VF4, as well as large electric SUVs like VF7 and VF9. The likes of VF6 and VF7 are sub-compact and compact SUVs, respectively, while VF8 is a mid-size SUV.

First Published Date: 07 Jan 2024, 21:47 PM IST

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