Tesla is closing an office because layoffs are on autopilot, even by the hour

Tesla: Most of the layoffs were clock workers, that person said. (File)

San Francisco:

Tesla has closed its San Mateo, California office and laid off about 200 employees working there on its Autopilot driver assistance system, one of the people told Reuters, in a move seen as accelerated cost cutting.

Most of the layoffs were hourly workers, that person said.

Earlier this month, Tesla CEO Elon Musk told top executives he had a “super bad feeling” about the economy and that the electric car maker needed to cut its workforce by about 10%.

The billionaire later said the 10% cut would only apply to wage earners and that the hourly workforce was expected to grow.

“Tesla is clearly in a major cost-cutting mode,” said Raj Rajkumar, a professor of electrical and computer engineering at Carnegie Mellon University. “This (staff reduction) likely indicates that the business was pretty tough in Q2 2022 due to the Shanghai shutdown, raw material costs and supply chain issues.”

Anti-pandemic measures in Shanghai have weighed on Tesla’s production there.

The fired person who spoke to Reuters said satellite office employees had previously been told they would be moving to an office in Palo Alto in phases this month after the San Mateo lease expires. But most of the workers were fired on Tuesday.

“It was definitely kind of narcotic,” he said. “Yeah, we’re definitely shocked; we’re definitely caught off guard.”

Some workers expected Tesla to shift some of its jobs to lower-wage workers in Buffalo, New York, to cut costs.

Tesla did not immediately respond to a request from Reuters for comment.

Many people in Tesla’s San Mateo office work on data annotation — reviewing and labeling various images collected from Tesla vehicles to teach the car’s Autopilot system to handle certain types of road scenarios.

A number of Tesla data notes employees said on LinkedIn on Tuesday that they had been fired.

“A bit of a disappointing day today. Myself and almost the entire San Mateo branch at Tesla just got fired,” Caeser Rosas, a data annotation specialist, said in a Linkedin post.

Bloomberg first reported on the job losses in San Mateo.

Musk has also said Tesla’s new plants in Texas and Berlin are “giant money-making furnaces” losing billions of dollars.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and has been published from a syndicated feed.)