The world’s largest auto market, China, proves once more it can be a tough nut to crack, this time to Tesla Motors, the California-based electric luxury automaker headed by billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk.
The US-based carmaker recently announced it was to lay off some of its staff in China, confirming the report of a local Chinese newspaper that said the company was reducing its employee base by 30 percent. According to Gary Tao, a local spokesman for the company, Tesla has opted to make some structural changes to its operation in China, which includes eliminating some staff positions. The spokesperson said the exact number of people to be laid off is unknown yet. The Chinese newspaper Economic Observer said the company would axe 180 of the 600 positions at its China unit after the country-wide sales fell below expectations. “The purpose is to better respond to the Chinese market,” Tao commented. “The team remains stable and strong.”
While additional details were not provided, the spokesperson said the personnel changes have already started since the beginning of the year and the Economic Observer reported Tesla’s sales department would take the biggest hit – with its employee base cut in half, the most among all departments, including marketing, public relations and administrative offices. Top executives have already quit the local unit, including Veronica Wu, Tesla’s former China president, and June Jin, former vice president of communications – with Elon Musk blaiming the slow sales on wide-spread concerns over charging of electric vehicles.