Tesla Lays Off 200 Autopilot Employees After Musk Warned of Job Cuts

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Stephen Lovekin/BEI/Shutterstock (12920948pr)Elon MuskCostume Institute Benefit celebrating the opening of In America: An Anthology of Fashion, Arrivals, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, USA - 02 May 2022.
Stephen Lovekin/BEI/Shutterstock / Stephen Lovekin/BEI/Shutterstock

Tesla has laid off 200 employees, many of which are hourly workers. This comes on the heels of CEO Elon Musk saying last week that while the company would reduce its workforce by 10% over the next three months, hourly staff would still be expected to grow.

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According to CNBC, Tesla is closing its office in San Mateo, California, where employees worked on its Autopilot team — improving the company’s driver-assistance systems. The closure eliminates about 200 jobs.

Employees at the San Mateo office “were tasked with evaluating customer vehicle data related to the Autopilot driver-assistance features and performing so-called data labeling,” according to Bloomberg. Many of the staff were reportedly data annotation specialists, all of which are hourly positions.

Employees will be paid in full for the next two months, and were asked to immediately leave their laptops and badges at their desks, CNBC reported. The severance packages are expected to include compensation based on years served at the company and an additional two months of benefits, extending coverage through Oct. 31.

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Last week, Musk had clarified how many employees at Tesla would be losing their jobs, following comments he made earlier this month about staff reduction.

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Speaking at the Qatar Economic Forum on June 21, Musk said his electric vehicle (EV) company’s workforce would be reduced by 10% over the next three months. However, he claimed that the overall headcount reduction would only be around 3.5% because hourly staff numbers are still expected to grow, as GOBankingRates previously reported.

“We grew very fast on the salaried side,” Musk said at the Qatar Economic Forum. “A year from now, I think our headcount will be higher in salaried and hourly workers, but for now the reduction will be 3% to 3.5%.”

Earlier this month, Musk said he had a “super bad feeling” about the economy in an internal email to Tesla execs. At the time he wrote, “Tesla will be reducing salaried headcount by 10% as we have become overstaffed in many areas. Note, this does not apply to anyone actually building cars, battery packs or installing sloe. Hourly headcount will increase.”

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About the Author

Yaël Bizouati-Kennedy is a full-time financial journalist and has written for several publications, including Dow Jones, The Financial Times Group, Bloomberg and Business Insider. She also worked as a vice president/senior content writer for major NYC-based financial companies, including New York Life and MSCI. Yaël is now freelancing and most recently, she co-authored  the book “Blockchain for Medical Research: Accelerating Trust in Healthcare,” with Dr. Sean Manion. (CRC Press, April 2020) She holds two master’s degrees, including one in Journalism from New York University and one in Russian Studies from Université Toulouse-Jean Jaurès, France.
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