Tesla Fires Underperforming Workers After Annual Evaluations

  • Co. says it continues to grow, hire employees around world
  • Production of Model 3 sedan lagged forecast in third quarter

Tesla charging points in a parking lot.

Photographer: Alex Kraus/ Bloomberg

Tesla Inc. has fired an undetermined number of employees following a series of performance evaluations after the company significantly boosted its workforce with the purchase of solar panel maker SolarCity Corp.

The departures are part of an annual review, the Palo Alto, California-based company said in an email, without providing a number of people affected. The maker of the Model S this week dismissed between 400 and 700 employees, including engineers, managers and factory workers, the San Jose Mercury News reported on Oct. 13, citing unidentified current and former workers.

“As with any company, especially one of over 33,000 employees, performance reviews also occasionally result in employee departures,” the company said in the statement. “Tesla is continuing to grow and hire new employees around the world.”

The company has more than 2,000 job openings on its careers website.

The dismissals come after Tesla said it built just 260 Model 3 sedans during the third quarter, less than a fifth of its 1,500-unit forecast. The company has offered scant detail about the problems it’s having producing the car. The vehicle’s entry price starts at $35,000, roughly half the cost of Tesla’s least-expensive Model S sedan.

A delayed ramp-up risks the ire of some of the almost half million reservation holders who started paying $1,000 deposits early last year. On Oct. 12, Tesla Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk posted a video on Instagram of what he said was a stamping press producing body panels for the Model 3.

In September, Tesla announced it was phasing out 63 positions at SolarCity Corp.’s Roseville, California office, according to Business Insider. Tesla dismissed the employees after it bought the company, which manufacturers and installs rooftop solar panels, for about $2 billion in 2016.

SolarCity had about 12,243 full-time employees as of the end of last year.

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