Sunday, 21 July, 2019

Tesla to cut 7% of workforce after 'most challenging' year

Tesla is bringing an early end to its popular customer referral program. Image Shutterstock Tesla is bringing an early end to its popular customer referral program. Image Shutterstock
Guillermo Jimenez | 18 January, 2019, 18:08

The company has not published its precise headcount but Musk gave a figure of 45,000 in October, implying 3,150 job losses. Musk pointed out, though, that the third quarter's profit was partly the result of a strong push to sell higher-priced variants of the vehicle - the Long Range Model 3 AWD and the Model 3 Performance - to customers in North America.

On January 18, Elon Musk revealed in a letter sent to the company's employees that approximately seven percent of the firm's workforce will be let go to fund the increased production rate of the Model 3.

Tesla had boosted its payroll significantly to meet production goals, but then cut its staff by 9 percent in June.

The firm employs more than 45,000 people now meaning it will lay off over 3,000.

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He strongly emphasized that the cut was necessary in order to maintain the price of the Model 3 at $35,000.

But he added the firm's cars were still "too expensive for most people" and the road ahead was "very difficult".

A copy of his email published on the company's website on Friday said Tesla increased its staff by 30 percent previous year, but it could not support that size of staff as "the road ahead is very difficult".

In a statement to CNBC, Wedbush analyst Dan Ives notes that Tesla's worldwide Model 3 push would likely determine the company's success in the first half of 2019.

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"Starting around May, we will need to deliver at least the mid-range Model 3 variant in all markets, as we need to reach more customers who can afford our vehicles", Musk said. The latter is expected to complete initial construction by the end of summer, with the facility manufacturing the first China-made, "affordable" Model 3 by the end of the year.

To counter the fading tax incentive, Tesla this month cut the price on each of its three models by $2,000.

Tesla's overarching challenge is making cars, batteries and solar products cost-competitive with fossil fuels, Musk said Friday in the blog post.

"According to this schedule, the recall of 2012 Model S vehicles began in 2017, was extended to 2013 Model S vehicles in 2018, and is now being extended to 2014-2016 Model S vehicles", the spokesperson said.

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Electric-vehicle maker Tesla will recall 14,123 cars in China over airbags that contained a part made by now-defunct Japanese manufacturer Takata, the Chinese market regulator announced on Friday (Jan 18).

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