Shake-up at Tesla; a dozen UK orders

Published: 16 October 2008

Electric car start-up Tesla is restructuring its US operation and laying off around 100 staff, as the credit crunch continues to make life difficult for car companies big and small. It’s now on its fourth CEO in 12 months, as founder Elon Musk takes over from Ze’ev Drori.

In an announcement on the chief exec’s blog, Tesla Motors said it would be ‘cash-flow positive’ within six to nine months – but only by increasing production and cutting operating costs. That’s management speak for redundancies: up to 100 staff will be fired and the Rochester Hills engineering base near Detroit axed.

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Tesla: the UK sales story

It’s not all doom and gloom, however. Tesla has sold 12 electric Roadsters in the UK for delivery in May 2009 and is about to appoint its first dealership in London. It isn’t building an extensive dealer base and the company claims the car doesn’t need much servicing.

The new Tesla Model S saloon has also been delayed as a result of the financial crisis.

Musk said: ‘There will be a delay in start of production of the Model S of roughly six months to mid-2011. On the plus side, we will spend the extra time refining the vehicle design and powertrain technology, so the car will end up being slightly better.’

By Tim Pollard

Editorial director of CAR's digital publishing arm. Motoring news magnet