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Is trouble brewing at Tesla? EV firms asks managers which jobs are critical amid layoff fears

Fears of a jobs bloodbath at Tesla are brewing after managers were reportedly asked to establish which of their workers’ jobs were critical.

The electric vehicle manufacturer has cancelled some employees’ biannual performance reviews, sources told Bloomberg

A single-line email reportedly asked a binary question asking US managers to make an assessment of their deputies’ roles. It comes despite the fact Tesla still has hundreds of job listings on its website.

It comes after a series of layoff announcements from firms including Snapchat owner Snap, Macy’s and Estée Lauder Companies.

Billionaire CEO Elon Musk has recently placed an emphasis on cost-cutting at Tesla amidst a marked slowdown of its sales growth.

Fears of a jobs bloodbath at Tesla are brewing after managers were reportedly asked to establish which of their workers’ jobs were critical

Tesla’s stock has slumped around 21 percent in the last month after the firm fell short of its 50 percent annual sales growth target. Vehicle deliveries rose 38 percent in 2023 while analysts are predicting they will increase 20 percent this year. 

Tesla is struggling to keep up with a host of international manufacturers who are offering cut-price EVs. Figures show automaker BYD is poised to overtake Tesla as the global leader in EV production this year.

And across the board demand for eco-vehicles are waning, with dealers warning vehicles are piling up unsold at parking lots.

Several automakers have announced dramatic cutbacks on investments into EV projects citing weaker-than-expected demand.

Last month Ford said it was slashing production of its F-150 Lightning electric truck – affecting around 1,400 employees. 

It comes after Tesla roughly doubled its workforce between 2020 and now. By the end of last year, it had more than 140,000 people on staff globally.

It means the company now employs around eight time as many workers as it did in 2016, just before the launch of the Model 3 Sedan.

According to Bloomberg, headcount at the firm increased 10 percent last year alone. 

Musk, 52, told investors last month that the company was between ‘two major growth waves’ as it awaited the launch of a lower-cost vehicle targeted for late 2025. 

It is also struggling to balance investment with its drive to lower price points. 

The firm has budgeted more than $10 billion in capital expenditures this year while it is set to increase spending on research and development to about $4.5 billion. 

During the company’s earnings call on Jan 24, Chief Financial Officer Vaibhav Taneja said: ‘This is a constant exercise and we just have to chase down every penny possible. We have a strong team which is hyper-focused on this.’

The start of 2024 has seen dozens of firms cull jobs as they grapple with ongoing economic uncertainty. 

Snap, Macy’s, Microsoft and Amazon have all announced layoffs so far this year. Yesterday, make-up brand Estée Lauder said it was cutting over 3,000 jobs.

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