By Phuong Nguyen
HANOI (Reuters) – Vietnamese electric-vehicle (EV) start-up VinFast said on Friday three senior sales and customer-service have left the company this week.
The departures are the latest in a string of executive changes for the ambitious Vietnamese automaker. They also come after a delayed and costly rollout of VinFast’s first EVs in California, its debut overseas market.
In a statement to Reuters, VinFast said Gareth Dunsmore, deputy chief executive for global sales and marketing, had left “due to personal reasons and we respect his decision”.
VinFast said two other U.S.-based executives had left because of “changes in the management model and specific business requirements”: Greg Tebbutt, who had been chief marketing officer, and Craig Westbrook, former chief service officer.
Dunsmore, Tebbutt and Westbrook could not be immediately reached for comment.
The company, a subsidiary of conglomerate Vingroup JSC, dispatched a shipment of 999 of its VF8 SUVs to California from Vietnam in November, but needed until earlier this month to prepare them for delivery to customers after disclosing the car would have lower battery range than it had flagged to buyers.
VinFast has been selling the first batch of VF8s, rebranded as the City Edition to account for the lower range, on lease in California. It expects to ship a longer-range version of the VF8 later this year.
The company is looking to break into the U.S. EV market at a time when established competitors, led by Tesla, are driving down prices and preparing to roll out a range of new models.
Rival EV startups, including Lucid, Rivian and electric truck maker Nikola, have faced pressure from lower orders, higher interest rates and increased competition.
In February, VinFast consolidated operations in the U.S. and Canada, cutting some 80 jobs, including former U.S. Chief Financial Officer Rodney Haynes.
In June, VinFast said it had ended its contract with Emmanuel Bret, the predecessor as deputy CEO for global sales to just-departed Dunsmore. Three other senior executives also left at that time.
Huy Chieu, a former General Motors engineer who was promoted in June to lead EV product development, resigned in December before the company’s first cars were delivered to U.S. customers.
VinFast has also had three CEOs since its founding in 2017.
The company, which began production in 2019, is planning to build a factory in North Carolina and has filed to list its shares through an initial public offering (IPO) in the United States.
VinFast lost $2.1 billion in 2022 on revenue of $634 million, it said in a registration statement for an IPO.
(This story has been corrected to fix Emmanuel Bret’s last name in paragraph 11)
(Additional reporting by Kevin Krolicki in Singapore; Editing by Ed Davies, Kim Coghill and Kenneth Maxwell)