Seres, the Chinese EV startup formerly known as SF Motors, sheds 90 people in its Silicon Valley office, the company announced in a staff meeting held earlier today. The American launch of its first electric SUV, the SF5, is now also standing still, according to a recording of the door The edge. It was originally planned to make and sell electric SUVs in China and the US, with a release scheduled for later this year.
Approximately 300 people worked in the Silicon Valley office prior to the layoffs, according to a former employee who was declared anonymous because of a confidentiality agreement with the company. The redundancies affect multiple parts of the company, including sales, marketing, IT, HR, legal affairs, business management and design, said this person. A company spokesperson could not immediately be reached for comment.
The layoffs come at a time when some of the most prominent Chinese and Chinese-American EV startups are struggling. Faraday Future has lost most of its staff and has partnered with a restructuring firm to raise new money. NIO, a company that currently sells cars in China and is publicly traded in the US, recently delayed an upcoming car and cut dozens of jobs in Silicon Valley and closed an office there after a slow few months of sales. It also had to recall thousands of vehicles due to a fire hazard.
Seres is an American brand owned by Chinese commercial car maker Sokon, and its American weapon will remain open despite the layoffs, although it will become more independent and manage its own budget and goals, per meeting. A letter from co-CEO James Taylor read out during the meeting cited the recent downturn in the Chinese economy, but especially the new car market, as an important reason for the changes. The continuing trade war with the US was also mentioned as the reason.
"At a time when Sokon has mastered so many dynamic challenges, it is just too much in the short term to launch a new brand and product type on another new market," says Taylor & # 39; s letter. "Now that these strategic decisions have been made, we now need to make the necessary adjustments to give the company its best opportunities for both short-term survival and long-term success."
Seres made some waves like SF Motors when it was taken over a startup founded by Martin Eberhard, co-founder and former CEO of Tesla, in 2017, although he has since left the company. It too made the headlines when it hired Taylor, who had served as Cadillac's chief marketing officer and Hummer's CEO.