Hundreds Of Tesla Workers Let Go
Palo Alto, Calif.-based Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) has reportedly fired hundreds of employees after what the company described as “an annual performance review” of its more than 33,000 employees. The firings reportedly included engineers, managers, salespeople and factory employees.
According to reports, an estimated 400 to 700 people were dismissed this week, representing between 1 percent and 2 percent of the company’s employees. A Tesla spokesman would not confirm the number of employees dismissed.
In an emailed statement, a spokesman said “As with any company, especially one of over 33,000 employees, performance reviews also occasionally result in employee departures. Tesla is continuing to grow and hire new employees around the world.” Sources say the employees received little or no warning preceding the dismissals.
Tesla insists that the losses are not layoffs and there are no records of new layoffs from Tesla. State law in California requires companies to notify employees of layoffs through its WARN notification system.
The company is off to a slow start in manufacturing its crucial Model 3 electric car. Earlier this month, Tesla reported that it produced 260 Model 3 cars in the third quarter and has delivered 220. CEO Elon Musk had predicted that Tesla would produce more than 1,600 of the vehicles by September—a prediction off by more than 80 percent.
On Oct. 6, Musk acknowledged that the company was facing “bottlenecks” in Model 3 production. One of the “bottlenecks” was a process involved positioning and welding body panels by hand.
Tesla workers were assembling Model 3 vehicles by hand until at least early September because the automated production line was still incomplete. The company did not specify whether any of the firings were connected to the manufacturing problems.
On Oct. 2, the company said in a Securities and Exchange Commission filing that “a handful” of its “manufacturing subsystems” have “taken longer to activate than expected.” Those robots are in place now, but might not be fully calibrated for another month.
Musk had said the company would be making 5,000 cars per week by the end of the year. That goal appears now to be in jeopardy. The company has also decided to delay its reveal of an electric semi-truck by about three weeks.