People & Human Resources, Startup News & Analysis

Amid smiles and flamethrowers, Elon Musk announces a 9% cut to Tesla’s workforce

Dominic Powell /

Renowned (but increasingly problematic) entrepreneur and tech founder Elon Musk has today announced a “difficult” decision to cut 9% of electric car manufacturer Tesla’s workforce, or around 3,500 employees.

The news, shared by Musk today on his preferred platform of Twitter, comes just days after the entrepreneur held an event for his tunnel digging company The Boring Company, where the 1,000 first customers that had purchased the company’s flamethrower turned up to collect their fiery goods.

Musk shared photos of the event on Twitter, and spruiked the device as the best way to light your fireplace or barbeque, saying “No more need to use a dainty ‘match’ to ignite! If no wood, just drop your flamethrower in fire place! It will generate way more warmth than a quaint pile of logs”.

Similarly, three days before announcing the job cuts, Musk declared that the upcoming Tesla Roadster would have a “SpaceX package” (Musk’s other company), which would see 10 small rocket thrusters arranged around the car to “dramatically improve acceleration, top speed, braking & cornering”.

In an email to staff today, Musk said the cuts were due to a comprehensive organisational restructure of Tesla, with the company’s rapid growth leading to jobs that were “hard to justify”.

“Given that Tesla has never made an annual profit in the almost 15 years since we have existed, profit is obviously not what motivates us. What drives us is our mission to accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable, clean energy, but we will never achieve that mission unless we eventually demonstrate that we can be sustainably profitable,” he wrote.

“That is a valid and fair criticism of Tesla to date.”

Musk’s focus on profit is likely due to increased investor speculation over Tesla and the automotive company’s ambitions, with the company not only being unprofitable, but cash-hungry, burning through $US745 million in cash in the first quarter of 2018, which also marked the company’s sixth loss-making quarter in a row.

However, the move might have done wonders for Musk’s business, as Tesla stock bounced 3% on the announcement.

NOW READ: Steve Wozniak is no fan of Elon Musk: “I don’t believe anything Elon Musk or Tesla says”

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Dominic Powell

Dominic is the features and profiles editor at SmartCompany.

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