Earlier this year, electric car startup SF Motors announced it would rebrand itself as Seres as it prepared to launch the brand in the U.S. However, poor economic conditions in China have led the company to pump the brakes.
Per a report from The Verge last Wednesday, Seres has shelved plans for a U.S. market launch, at least for now. The website obtained a recording of a meeting held at the company's Silicon Valley-based office where executives cited a lagging car market in China and the ongoing U.S.-China trade war as major factors. Seres is based in Santa Clara, California, but China's Chongqing Sokon Industry Group provides funding for the startup automaker.
2020 Seres SF5
Not only has the company put a hold on its launch in the U.S., deliveries of its first electric car, the SF5, have been suspended in China. The SF5 SUV was going to be the brand's first electric car in China and touted a 90-kwh battery, two electric motors (one at each axle), and 684 horsepower and 767 pound-feet of torque.
Additionally, the meeting confirmed the company planned to lay off 90 workers at its U.S. office. The layoffs, according to a source inside the company who spoke anonymously, covered numerous departments, from sales, marketing, IT, HR, legal, operations, and design. Inside the meeting, the layoffs were named as one measure to ensure "short-term survival" and "long-term success," the recording revealed. Co-CEO James Taylor, a former Cadillac and Hummer executive, issued the remarks.
2020 Seres SF5
Seres began to shape up as a startup company to watch after securing two production sites for electric cars. The other is the former AM General commercial vehicles plant located in South Bend, Indiana. For now, it appears the company will remain in a holding pattern as the U.S. and Chinese economies sort themselves out.