Tesla to cut 9% of workforce, Model 3 production not affected by layoffs

Elon Musk said the company would continue to hire for critical roles and that finding additional production staff remained a priority. Above, a Model 3 sits on the showroom floor at a Tesla dealership in Chicago. (Getty Images/AFP)
Updated 14 June 2018
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Tesla to cut 9% of workforce, Model 3 production not affected by layoffs

  • The cuts concern salaried staff but not production workers and will not affect Model 3 output targets
  • Founded in 2003 by a group of engineers drawn to electric cars, Tesla went public in 2010 and began delivering the Model S sedan in 2012

NEW YORK: Electric carmaker Tesla Motors announced Tuesday it was cutting nine percent of its workforce to enhance profitability but said the move would not affect an ambitious production ramp-up of its Model 3 sedan.
The job cuts are part of a company-wide restructuring to address excess staff in some areas due to the company’s speedy growth, Tesla chief Elon Musk said in an email to employees.
The cuts concern salaried staff but not production workers and will not affect Model 3 output targets, said Musk, who characterized the downsizing as an acknowledgement of the need to focus more on costs.
“Given that Tesla has never made an annual profit in the almost 15 years since we have existed, profit is obviously not what motivates us,” Musk said in the message.
“What drives us is our mission to accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable, clean energy, but we will never achieve that mission unless we eventually demonstrate that we can be sustainably profitable,” Musk added.
“That is a valid and fair criticism of Tesla’s history to date.”
The layoff affects almost 4,000 workers, based on figures supplies by the company. Musk said last month that the company would conduct a “sort of reorganization” but did not discuss specifics.
Musk said Tuesday the company would continue to hire for critical roles and that finding additional production staff remained a priority.
Musk said on Twitter that the decision to cut jobs was “difficult but necessary.”
The Tesla chief has at times clashed with Wall Street analysts over an aggressive cash burn rate that has fed skepticism over whether the company can reach its goals after the company earlier missed several key benchmarks for the Model 3.
Just six weeks ago, Musk was in the doghouse with many Wall Street analysts after he abruptly cut off an earnings conference call because of “dry” and “bonehead” questions that dug into capital spending details.
But others on Wall Street and beyond view the charismatic Tesla chief as a visionary, sometimes comparing him to Apple co-founder Steve Jobs and others who have also disrupted industries.
The company’s stock is up about 15 percent since June 5, when Musk signaled that the company would likely meet a goal of producing 5,000 Model 3 sedans by the end of June.
Shares had also risen Monday after Musk said on Twitter the company’s updated Autopilot software coming in August would enable “full self-driving features.”
Shares of Tesla rose 3.3 percent in afternoon trading to $343.00
Founded in 2003 by a group of engineers drawn to electric cars, Tesla went public in 2010 and began delivering the Model S sedan in 2012.
However, the company’s first two major vehicles both sell for around $75,000 or more, whereas the Model 3 starts at $35,000 and had been billed as the first electric car aimed at the middle market.
Since that time, General Motors has also launched a model for this market, the Chevrolet Bolt.
GM chief Mary Barra announced Tuesday that the company planned to boost production of the Bolt to meet demand and reiterated plans to launch more than 20 new electric vehicles worldwide by 2023.


At Jordan border, Damascus seeks to revive trade

Updated 21 October 2018
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At Jordan border, Damascus seeks to revive trade

  • The government of President Bashar Assad took back control of the Nassib border post in July
  • By reopening a key land crossing with Jordan this month, the Syrian regime is inching toward a return to trade with the wider region

BEIRUT: By reopening a key land crossing with Jordan this month, the Syrian regime is inching toward a return to trade with the wider region as it looks to boost its war-ravaged economy.
The government of President Bashar Assad took back control of the Nassib border post in July from rebels as part of a military offensive that reclaimed swathes of the south of the country.
Syria’s international trade has plummeted during the seven-year civil war, and its foreign reserves have been almost depleted.
The reopening of Nassib after a three-year hiatus, on Oct. 15, is a political victory for the Damascus regime, said Sam Heller of the International Crisis Group.
It is “a step toward reintegrating with Syria’s surroundings economically and recapturing the country’s traditional role as a conduit for regional trade,” he said.
The Nassib crossing reopens a direct land route between Syria and Jordan, but also a passage via its southern neighbor to Iraq to the east, and the Gulf to the south.
“For the Syrian government, reopening Nassib is a step toward normalization with Jordan and the broader region, and a blow to US-led attempts to isolate Damascus,” Heller said.
International pressure and numerous rounds of peace talks have failed to stem the fighting in Syria, and seven years in the regime has gained the military upper hand in the conflict.
Assad’s forces now control nearly two-thirds of the country, after a series of Russia-backed offensives against rebels.

 

Syria faces a mammoth task to revive its battered economy.
The country’s exports plummeted by more than 90 percent in the first four years of the conflict alone, from $7.9 billion to $631 million, according to a World Bank report last year.
The Syria Report, an economic weekly, said Nassib’s reopening would reconnect Syria with an “important market” in the Gulf.
But, it warned, “it is unlikely Syrian exports will recover anywhere close to the 2011 levels in the short and medium terms because the country’s production capacity has been largely destroyed.”
For now, at least, Nassib’s reopening is good news for Syrian tradesmen forced into costlier, lengthier maritime shipping since 2015.
Among them, Syrian businessman Farouk Joud was looking forward to being able to finally import goods from Jordan and the UAE via land.
Before 2015, “it would take a maximum of three days for us to receive goods, but via the sea it takes a whole month,” he told AFP.
Importing goods until recently has involved a circuitous maritime route from the Jordanian port of Aqaba via the Suez Canal, and up to a regime-held port in the northwest of the country.
“It costs twice as much as land transport via Nassib,” Joud said.
Syrian parliament member Hadi Sharaf was equally enthusiastic about fresh opportunities for Syrian exports.
“Exporting (fruit and) vegetables will have a positive economic impact, especially for much-demanded citrus fruit to Iraq,” he told AFP.
Before Syria’s war broke out in 2011, neighboring Iraq was the first destination of Syria’s non-oil exports.
The parliamentarian also hoped the revived trade route on Syria’s southern border would swell state coffers with much-needed dollars.
Before the conflict, the Nassib crossing raked in $2 million in customs fees, Sharaf said.
Last month, Syria’s Prime Minister Imad Khamis said fees at Nassib for a four-ton truck had been increased from $10 to $62.
Syria’s foreign reserves have been almost depleted due to the drop in oil exports, loss of tourism revenues and sanctions, the World Bank said.
And the local currency has lost around 90 percent of its value since the start of the war.
Lebanese businessmen are also delighted, as they can now reach other countries in the region by sending lorries through Syria and its southern border crossing.
Lebanon’s farmers “used to export more than 70 percent of their produce to Arab countries via this strategic crossing,” said Bechara Al-Asmar, head of Lebanon’s labor union.
Despite recent victories, Damascus still controls only half of the 19 crossings along Syria’s lengthy borders with Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq and Turkey.
Damascus and Baghdad have said the Albukamal crossing with Iraq in eastern Syria will open soon, but did not give a specific date.
Beyond trade, there is even hope that the Nassib crossing reopening might bring some tourists back to Syria.
A Jordanian travel agency recently posted on Facebook that it was organizing daily trips to the Syrian capital by “safe and air-conditioned” bus from Monday.
“Who among us doesn’t miss the good old days in Syria?” it said.

FACTOID

BACKGROUND

Syria’s foreign reserves have been almost depleted owing to the drop in oil exports, loss of tourism revenues and sanctions, while the local currency has lost around 90 percent of its value since the start of the war in 2011.