EV maker VinFast downsizes in US, Canada
Vietnamese electric vehicle maker VinFast is cutting jobs in the United States and Canada as part of a restructuring that will merge operations across the two countries. The restructuring comes as VinFast prepares to enter the U.S. public market and delays deliveries to its first customers in the country.
VinFast has not shared how many employees have been cut, but a LinkedIn post from a former employee said "nearly 35 roles" were affected. A spokesperson told Reuters the headcount in Vietnam, where most of the company's staff and engineering ops are, would not shrink.
"The past 4 months have been an experience like no other," reads the post. "From meeting and collaborating with some of the industry's most talented professionals, to building a team and program with the intention to launch a service nationwide for a startup."
Note the "intention to launch" part of that statement. Neither the employee who wrote the post nor the company have responded to TechCrunch to clarify the nature of the nationwide service and whether VinFast has ceased operations there, but we have some guesses.
A big part of VinFast's luxury EV offering in the U.S. is the customer experience, including a mobile service network and over-the-air firmware updates. The company may have also been pursuing an EV charging network in the States, something VinFast has been doing in Vietnam. Some of the affected employees who posted on LinkedIn worked in mobile service operations and EV charging infrastructure, which might signal VinFast is pulling away from launching these services in North America.
VinFast's expansion strategy into international markets also includes a direct-to-consumer sales model. Many of the 150 people VinFast said it had hired in the U.S. were in sales, support and distribution roles.
The company, a subsidiary of conglomerate Vingroup, has been advancing into the U.S. market with four electric SUVs and potentially a sports car. Last week, VinFast said it would delay deliveries to its first U.S. customers to the second half of February as it finishes updating vehicles with the latest software.