More troubling news for Vietnamese electric vehicle maker, VinFast, as they have lost three high-ranking executives responsible for sales and customer service, according to reports on Friday. The departures follow a series of recent executive changes for the ambitious automaker from Vietnam, which have come in the wake of the delayed and expensive introduction of VinFast's inaugural EVs in California, marking the company's first entry into an overseas market.
VinFast issued a statement to Reuters, stating that Gareth Dunsmore, the deputy chief executive for global sales and marketing, had resigned "due to personal reasons, and we respect his decision." The company reported that two other executives based in the U.S. had departed due to "changes in the management model and specific business requirements." These executives are Greg Tebbutt, the former chief marketing officer, and Craig Westbrook, the former chief service officer. Dunsmore, Tebbutt, and Westbrook have not made any comments regarding their departures.
VinFast, which is a subsidiary of Vingroup, shipped 999 units of its VF8 SUVs to California from Vietnam in November. However, the company later disclosed that the car's battery range was lower than previously advertised to buyers, and it took until earlier this month to get the vehicles ready for delivery to customers. VinFast has been marketing the initial batch of VF8s, rebranded as the City Edition to account for the lower battery range, for lease in California. The company anticipates shipping a higher-range version of the VF8 later this year.
The company couldn't be choosing a more difficult time to enter the U.S. EV market. Established rivals, particularly Tesla, Ford, and GM, have reduced prices and are preparing to unveil a range of new models. Other EV start-ups are showing signs of challenging times as well, including Lucid, Sono Motors, Arcimoto, and electric truck manufacturer Nikola, seeing declining orders, higher interest rates, and increased competition.
For VinFast, these recent departures are only the latest in a string of executive turnovers. In February, VinFast merged its operations in the U.S. and Canada and cut approximately 80 jobs, including former U.S. Chief Financial Officer Rodney Haynes. Last June, VinFast reported that it had terminated its agreement with Emmanuel Bret, the former deputy CEO for global sales before recently departed Dunsmore. Three additional senior executives departed 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. Since its founding in 2017, VinFast has undergone three changes in CEOs. The automaker, which commenced production in 2019, intends to construct a factory in North Carolina and has submitted an application to go public through an initial public offering (IPO) in the United States. According to its IPO registration statement, VinFast incurred a loss of $2.1 billion in 2022 on revenue of $634 million.