- VinFast's Australian executive has resigned
- Port Melbourne R&D centre to be restructured
- Lang Lang proving ground and engineering teams unaffected
Vietnamese car manufacturer VinFast is believed to be initiating a significant restructure of its Australian operations today.
Wheels has spoken with several sources close to the company, but beyond acknowledging a change is occurring, none were able to confirm any details of the move due to its confidential nature.
While details are thin on the ground, Wheels understands a number of teams are being restructured and/or being made redundant, and that a high-ranking Australian executive has resigned.
The news comes roughly a year after VinFast made a multi-million dollar investment in Australia which saw it establish a new local head office and purchase the Lang Lang proving ground from GM Holden.
Last year – in the wake of Holden’s departure from Australia – the Vietnamese company started an Australian research and development arm, dubbed Automotive Technology Institute 2, which moved into a purpose-built facility in Melbourne.
The team were tasked with focusing on developing new models for VinFast, along with internal combustion and battery-electric powertrains. Roughly 100 people are thought to be employed by VinFast at the facility, with many being former Ford Australia, Toyota, JLR and Holden workers.
The man in charge of VinFast’s local operations, former Holden executive Kevin Yardley, is understood to have recently resigned from his position.
While the details of the restructure are yet to be revealed, Wheels understands there are a number of redundancies.
Currently, the Lang Lang proving ground that VinFast purchased from General Motors for a rumoured $20 million (which is still largely staffed by ex-Holden employees) is safe and unaffected by the restructure.
The first fleet of VinFast’s development vehicles are due to begin their testing and development programmes at the proving ground, with Australian engineers set to continue their work developing vehicles for international markets.
Currently VinFast has no official plans for selling vehicles in Australia.
VinFast launched three new models for international markets earlier this year, of which the Australian arm is understood to have played some part in the development.
VinFast is owned by Vingroup, Vietnam’s largest private business, with assets totalling $35 billion. Of that figure, a reported $3.5 billion has been invested into VinFast. Vingroup was founded by Vietnam’s richest man and former instant noodle magnate Pham Nhat Vuong.
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