EV upstart VinFast is laying off employees in Canada amid a restructuring that saw the Vietnam-based automaker merge its U.S. and Canadian operations.
While VinFast has yet to confirm the number affected, a source said about 30 of about 100 employees in Canada were let go Feb. 2.
Some affected employees posted on social media that they were terminated.
“I, along with others at VinFast, were let go yesterday due to the restructuring of the Canadian team; six months to the day of my hiring,” Matthew Veenbaas, a former technical training manager, wrote in a LinkedIn post Feb. 3.
“I feel incredibly proud of the work I was able to perform at VinFast, and the training materials I created. Hopefully the technical team has been set up for success with the training programs created!”
VinFast announced Jan. 25 the consolidation of its Canadian and U.S. strategic business and management operations into a single unit, VinFast North America.
“The move is expected to drive increased efficiency in the use and allocation of resources, while improving VinFast’s operational and financial performance,” the company said in a statement. It “is a part of VinFast’s long-term strategy to position the company for greater success in the highly-competitive and dynamic automotive industry.”
The affected employees received notice of the job cuts Feb. 2, according to the source, adding that the cuts impacted head office staff and not employees at VinFast’s eight corporately run stores in Canada. The first retail outlet opened Nov. 15 at Yorkdale Shopping Centre in Toronto.
“In essence they are going to treat Canada as just another store for the U.S. and make almost all decisions down there,” the source said.
John Lindo, VinFast company spokesman for Canada, on Feb. 2 did not confirm or deny the cuts, but said he was seeking answers to questions from Automotive News Canada.
VinFast has an office in Markham, Ont., although the job cuts affect employees in other cities, including Montreal, and some remote workers, the source said.
VinFast North America, meanwhile, “will house the key strategic business and management operations and will be headquartered in Los Angeles,” the company’s Jan. 25 statement said. “VinFast Canada will become a member company under VinFast North America, responsible for sales, service and distribution in the Canadian market.”
Nguyen Thi Van Anh was named CEO of VinFast North America and will maintain her current role as CEO of VinFast U.S. – Manufacturing, the company said.
The consolidation “is designed to provide greater focus, responsiveness and accountability, in order to streamline operations and enhance the delivery of its new electric vehicles to customers while reducing expenses.”
The status of Canadian CEO Huynh Du An was not confirmed.
Under the new structure, “both the U.S. and Canadian operations will continue to be responsible for in-market initiatives, including the implementation of certain plans and tactics to respond to the specific market conditions and unique customer requirements in each country.
VinFast, is launching four electric crossovers in North America: the full-size VF 9, the midsize VF 8, the compact VF 7, and the subcompact VF 6. The VF 8 and VF 9 were open for reservation in 2022 and “will be delivered to Canadian customers in the coming months,” the company said Jan. 18.
The company, a unit of conglomerate Vingroup, is gearing up to expand in the United States and is building an assembly plant in North Carolina.
Meanwhile, VinFast imported its first 999 vehicles in November, initially expecting deliveries to U.S. customers in December.
Reuters reported Feb. 3 that VinFast will push those to the second half of February after it updates the vehicles with the latest software.
This story will be updated.