Tesla competitor VinFast sets sights on Thoothukudi for plant to manufacture cars, batteries

Vietnamese electric vehicle manufacturer VinFast was initially planning to take over the Ford plant in Chennai but the deal fell through.
For representational purposes
For representational purposes

CHENNAI: Flood-hit Thoothukudi has something to cheer about this year as Vietnamese electric vehicle manufacturer VinFast has set its sights on setting up a car and battery manufacturing plant in the southern district by investing hundreds of millions of dollars, according to sources.

VinFast was initially planning to take over the Ford plant in Chennai but the deal fell through as Ford was not willing to part with the land. Sources said that the Chief Minister was keen to bring the investment to Thoothukudi, which has access to the sea as well as an airport to help generate jobs for the youth who have been migrating from the southern district to Chennai and other regions.

It is learnt that the Chief Minister deputed industries minister TRB Rajaa to get the investment to the southern district. The industries minister rushed with a small team to Vietnam and met officials of the firm. After two days of hectic negotiations with the minister-led delegation which came up with a tailor-made package, the Vinfast leadership agreed to invest in setting up a car and battery manufacturing plant spread over 400 acres. It is learnt that Vinfast has been in talks with the office of Dr TRB Rajaa since October.

VinFast competes with carmakers such as Tesla and China's BYD. Company officials could not be reached and the quantum of investment could not be ascertained which sources claim could run into hundreds of millions of dollars. The proposed investment is likely to be one of the biggest game-changers for the Global Investors Meet which is scheduled to be held in Chennai from January 7-8.

Thoothukudi is already emerging as a hub for renewables with the southern district getting Rs 82,674 crore worth of investments in green hydrogen and green ammonia. V O Chidambaranar Port in Thoothukudi, which is set to become the first green hydrogen hub of the country, also has the potential to become the transshipment hub with the implementation of the Rs 6,000 crore Outer Harbour project.

Established in 2017, VinFast owns a state-of-the-art automotive manufacturing complex with globally leading scalability that boasts up to 90 percent automation in Hai Phong, Vietnam.

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