Elon Musk’s luxury electric car company has reportedly fired hundreds of workers following its annual company-wide performance reviews.
The news comes despite other reports in the media that the electric automaker is months behind its production targets and is actively trying to ramp up production to meet the demand for its new ‘for the masses’ Model 3 sedan.
Exact figures for the fired staff are still subject to some rumor, but one former employee speaking to Reuters on the condition of anonymity said “It’s about 400 people ranging from associates to team leaders to supervisors. We don’t know how high up it went,”
Though Tesla cited performance as the main reason for the firings, the Reuters source said he had been fired despite never having been given a bad review. The Palo Alto-based company confirmed the cuts in a statement, but did not disclose how many of its 33,000 workforce were let go, but some local media organizations based on similar conversations with employees claimed the number may have been as high as 700.
In its official statement, the company said that a number of workers received bonuses and promotions following their reviews.
Ghosts in the machine
The news came as a surprise to many industry commentators. The company had publicly stated earlier in the month that several “production bottlenecks” had left Tesla well behind its proposed up scaling for the new Model 3 mass-market sedan.
Tesla also recently reported that it had produced 260 Model 3 cars in the third quarter, of which it has delivered 220. That figure is far less than CEO Elon Musk’s prediction that Tesla would produce more than 1,600 of the vehicles by September.
The car maker has insisted that the losses are not layoffs and that it aims to replace all those fired in order to meet its production targets.