In what appears to be a necessary decision to keep the company running, TESLA has decided to lay off 100 workers from their manufacturing plant where they make the Model S electric car. This decision, as stated by our sources, was directly a result of the cancellations that stemmed from the New York Times article.
If you recall, a few weeks ago, a New York Times journalist, John Broder, wrote an article about the TESLA Model S about his drive along the east coast and talked about how flawed the vehicle was and that its range was poor. Elon Musk fired back at him with a plethora of data collected from the vehicle. Elon used the data to support the argument that John Broder already had an outcome that he was expecting to achieve by driving the TESLA and that John’s test drive or review of the vehicle was unfair for many reasons. Looking at the evidence and the subsequent reviews of the TESLA Model S by other press that found no issues (taking the same route), we can see that John Broder was in the wrong. The New York Times apologized for the article and all was done.
However, Elon Musk did state that TESLA did experience customer cancellations as a result of the FUD spread by the NYT review. While we had no idea of the scope of the cancellations, judging by the 100 person layoffs, it appears as though they were quite significant.
This brings us to the dilemma of reviews and how they can affect people’s lives. I don’t think John Broder realized that his unfairly negative review of the TESLA Model S would cost 100 people their jobs and that he would be personally responsible for that event. Hopefully, TESLA’s orders pick back up and these people can get their jobs back sometime soon.
While we await comment from TESLA, we do want to say that they did comment on an NBC article talking about layoffs within the company, however no numbers were mentioned nor were any concrete reasons given.
TESLA Motors Responds, March 7, 2012 3:42PM PST
We received an answer from the Tesla Motors Public Relations department containing the following statement:
"We spoke on our earnings call and in our shareholder letter (PDF Download) about how the achievement of operational and manufacturing efficiencies will drive some adjustments in our personnel, primarily affecting contractor and temporary employees. We also note that we’ve been able to get operations more efficient quarter over quarter. On the other hand Mr. Musk was very clear in a Bloomberg interview on Feb. 25th, and subsequent coverage around his comments, that the NYT cost us in market-value."