Tesla cuts jobs in China as sales slower than expected

Ma Jie
Bloomberg News

Tesla Motors Inc., the electric-car maker led by billionaire Elon Musk, said it’s cutting jobs in China after a local newspaper reported the company will reduce staff by 30 percent.

Tesla will eliminate some positions as it makes structural changes to its business in China, according to Gary Tao, a local spokesman for the carmaker. He said he didn’t know how many jobs will be affected. The Chinese newspaper Economic Observer reported earlier Tesla will eliminate 180 of the 600 positions at its China unit because sales haven’t met expectations.

“The purpose is to better respond to the Chinese market,” Tao said. “The team remains stable and strong.”

The current personnel changes started at the beginning of the year, Tao said, declining to provide additional details. The Economic Observer said Tesla’s local sales department will cut half its workforce, the most among all its departments, including marketing, public relations and administrative offices.

Musk said in January sales in China have been slow because of concerns consumers have over charging electric vehicles.

Tesla, based in Palo Alto, Calif., started delivering cars in the world’s largest auto market last year. The company has nine stores and service centers in six Chinese cities and has tied up with companies including China Unicom and Soho China Ltd. to build charging stations.