Scores of Tesla employees fired just as the Model 3 ramp-up gets underway

Scores of Tesla employees were fired from the Palo Alto, California-based company in the past week, a local media report said.

According to a Tesla statement cited by The Mercury News, the employees were fired following a round of performance reviews. A former employee told Reuters “about 400 people” were among those who left the company, and that the positions ranged from “associates to team leaders to supervisors. We don’t know how high up it went,” the person said.

A Tesla spokesperson told The Mercury News the company expects to staff the “vast majority” of vacated positions. Tesla did not immediately respond to Business Insider’s request for comment on the firings.

The turnover comes as the electric-car company is ramping up production of the Model 3 sedan, its first venture into the entry level luxury mass market. Tesla posted disappointing production numbers for the Model 3 last week, having completed just 260 examples of the car. The company had previously said it would crank out 1,500 in September and ramp up to 20,000 per month by December.

CEO Elon Musk blamed the shortfall on what he called “production bottlenecks,” which prompted speculation that the assembly line at Tesla’s Fremont factory was not yet ready to generate the kind of output needed to fill the roughly 455,000 Model 3 order it has on its books. The Wall Street said in a report last week that employees were making some Model 3 parts by hand.

Tesla Model 3Timothy Artman/TeslaTesla Model 3.

A Tesla spokesperson refuted that claim in an email to Business Insider last week: “We are still in the beginning of our production ramp, but every Model 3 is being built on the Model 3 production line, which is fully installed, powered on, producing vehicles, and increasing in automation every day,” the spokesperson said.

On October 8, Musk tweeted a video of the Model 3 assembly line, showing automated robots working on the bare-metal body of a Model 3, which began shipping in the third quarter of this year.

These most recent dismissals follow a spate of firings at Tesla’s solar energy arm, SolarCity, which fired dozens of employees at its Northern California offices in September.

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