Tesla has recently fired hundreds of workers including engineers, managers and factory workers, even as the company struggles to expand its manufacturing and product line. This comes as part of a company-wide annual review, Tesla fired around 400 employees — including supervisors, team leaders, and common associates — according to a former employee who spoke with Reuters in an interview after Mercury News broke the story.
The dismissals come at a crucial point for the company, which is pushing to increase vehicle production five-fold and reach a broader market with its new Model 3 sedan. The electric vehicle maker missed targets for producing the lower-cost sedan, manufacturing only 260 last quarter despite a wait list of more than 450,000 customers.
However, former and current employees who discussed with news organisation said little or no warning preceded the dismissals. The workers interviewed include trained engineers working on vehicle design and production, a supervisor and factory employees.
Workers estimated between 400 and 700 employees have been fired. Tesla refused to say how many employees were let go, although the company expects employee turnover to be similar to last year’s attrition.
The spokesman said most of the dismissals were administrative and sales positions, and outside of manufacturing. Tesla employs about 10,000 workers at its Fremont factory.
Workers spoke on the condition of anonymity because they feared reprisals from the company. Employees said the firings have lowered morale through many departments. Several said Model X, Model S and former SolarCity operations seemed to be targeted.
CEO Elon Musk said factory output will increase production to a half-million electric vehicles in 2018. The company expects to deliver about 100,000 vehicles this year.
Musk has told investors the company is focused on Model 3 production and expects to eventually build 10,000 cars a week. The manufacturing will become highly automated, but Musk told investors during the early ramp up he expected high overtime costs.