Tesla lays off hundreds of autopilot employees; closes its San Mateo, California office
Tesla has laid off hundreds of employees on its Autopilot team and closed its San Mateo office in California, according to a report from Bloomberg, citing people familiar with the matter. The sources told Bloomberg that 200 employees were let go.
Affected employees were notified today, “according to the people, who asked not to be identified as discussing private information.” Before the layoff, the teams at the San Mateo office were tasked with assessing customer vehicle data related to the Autopilot driver-assistance features and performing so-called data labeling.
The news comes just two weeks after Tesla CEO Elon Musk said the company was planning to lay off 10% of Tesla’s total workforce due to a “super bad feeling” he has about the economy. The last week, Musk later clarified that layoffs will affect around 3.5% of Tesla’s overall workforce, adding the actual amount was “not super material.”
Musk’s comment came just a few days after two former Tesla employees filed a lawsuit alleging the electric car maker breached U.S. labor laws in its decision to carry out a “mass layoff” as the company did not provide advance notice of the job cuts.
However, Musk’s clarification also sparks confusion following the statement he made at an event hosted by Bloomberg on Tuesday. During the event, Musk said Tesla would reduce its salaried workforce by 10% in the next three months, while at the same time growing the number of hourly employees.
In the memo early this month, Musk reportedly said he has a “super bad feeling” about the economy and wanted to cut 10% of jobs, according to a report from Reuters, citing an internal email written by the Tesla CEO. But in a follow-up email to Tesla staff obtained by CNBC, Musk clarified the company will be reducing its salaried headcount by 10% and increasing its hourly staffing.
Based on his follow-up email, it appears that Tesla will still lay off 10% of its workforce while hiring 6.5% of hourly employees, equating to an overall 3.5% job cut.
In a statement on Tuesday, Musk also explains that salaried workers account for about two-thirds of Tesla employees, adding that Tesla’s layoff announcement would affect around 3.5% of its overall workforce.