Tesla Motors Inc. plans to reduce its staff in China amid slow sales in the country.
Gary Tao, a spokesman for the US electric car company, declined to confirm a local media report that 180 employees will lose their jobs, simply saying that “some people will go”, the Wall Street Journal reported.
Tao said the restructuring is part of Tesla’s effort to build a “stronger and more efficient team”, adding that it showed the company’s commitment to stay in China.
“We’re not just leaving. We’re trying to serve the market,” he said.
Globally, the company’s headcount nearly doubled to 10,161 employees in 2014, from 5,859 a year earlier, the newspaper said.
Fourth-quarter loss widened to US$108 million, missing analyst estimates, as total car deliveries fell short of expectations.
In January, 469 Tesla cars were registered in China, up 6 percent from 42 in the previous month and on par with November’s 471 cars, the newspaper said, citing an analysis by investment research firm JL Warren.
The electric-car maker also imported 10 Model S cars into the country in January, down sharply from the more than 440 brought into China the month before.
During a recent earnings call, chief executive Elon Musk sought to ease concerns over the company’s lackluster sales in the Chinese market, saying it could have sold just as many cars even without selling any in the country.
In January 2014, Musk told the newspaper that he would consider it a success if Tesla were to sell 5,000 vehicles or more in China in 2014.
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