Chinese electric startup Seres has delayed the U.S. launch of its SF5 SUV and, at the same time, laid off many of its staff at its Silicon Valley office.
According to The Verge, Seres intended on launching the SF5 in the States later this year with the ultimate goal of producing the vehicle in both China and the U.S. However, those plans appear to have been overly ambitious.
A former employee, who wishes to remain anonymous, claims that approximately 300 people worked at the company’s Silicon Valley office and 90 of them have been let go. This ex-staffer says the layoffs affect a number of different departments within the company, includes sales, IT, marketing, design, HR, legal and operations.
Seres is the U.S. brand of Chinese car manufacturer Sokon and during a meeting when the layoffs were announced, co-chief executive James Taylor cited the recent downturn in the Chinese economy and the ongoing trade war with the United States as reasons for why the local launch of the SF5 has been delayed.
“At a time when Sokon is managing so many dynamic challenges, it is simply too much in the short term to also attempt to launch a new brand and product type in another new market,” Taylor’s letter read. “With these strategic decisions made, we must now make appropriate adjustments to give the company its best opportunity for both short-term survival and long-term success.”
Seres was formally known as SF Motors and unveiled the production version of its SF5 electric crossover in April. The vehicle will be sold in two guises, the most expensive of which will include a 90 kWh battery and electric motors pumping out a combined 684 hp and 767 lb-ft (1039 Nm) of torque.