By on November 1, 2008

Tesla’s heading down the home stretch here on Ye Olde Death Watch. Autocar reports that the Silicon Valley-based EV-maker says its cutting one fifth of its UK workforce. The number of Tesla employees laboring at Lotus’ Hethel factory, where the Tesla Roadster is born, has slipped from 50 to 40, or less. ““We deeply regret the necessity of making redundancies at the Tesla Hethel facility,” said Don Cochrane, UK sales and marketing director at Tesla Motors, who’s still cashing a nice fat paycheck (as far as we know). “It is in the interests of the longer-term health of the company to act prudently now.” Or, perhaps, before. Never mind. Facts never had much currency in Tesla-land, for either the company’s principals or the sycophantic scribes who parroted their PR. For example… “Since the £90,000 Roadster was launched, 125 examples of the groundbreaking electric sports car have been ordered across Europe. All of these are assembled at the Hethel factory at a rate of 40 vehicles per month. Tesla insists this production rate won’t be affected by the staff cutbacks.” Forty a month? Geddowdahere!

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12 Comments on “Tesla Death Watch 33: Hethel 1/5-i-mated...”


  • avatar
    John Horner

    “making redundancies”

    Leave it to the Brits to come up with that nonsensical phrase. Redundant means duplicate. Fired people are suddenly simply duplicates who never were needed in the first place. Harrumph.

  • avatar

    So they will have all current orders filled in 3 months or so, barring any new orders of course…

    Then they’ll lay everyone off.

  • avatar

    Redundant means duplicate.

    Redundant means excess to need. The phrase “made redundant” is a little harsh, but if the needs change (ie. stem cash flow from a rich CEO who doesn’t want to end up a poor CEO) then some people become an excess.

  • avatar
    Kman

    I’ve gotten lost in all the Tesla hoopla… as far as I can tell, they have not yet delivered a single car. Am I right? Someone confirm this please.

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    Since the £90,000 Roadster was launched, 125 examples of the groundbreaking electric sports car have been ordered across Europe. All of these are assembled at the Hethel factory at a rate of 40 vehicles per month.

    There’s some particularly lame PRspeak:
    * “Launched” does not mean “available to buy”
    * “125 ordered” does not mean “any actual cars delivered”

    This sounds like typical Silicon Valley: launches without product, orders without delivery. Heck, what Tesla’s shipping is effectively beta-version Roadsters.

  • avatar
    allerton

    Hold on… they had a head of UK sales and marketing? They were marketing this in Europe too? Gotta admit I have sometimes thought TTAC was being very hard on these guys – and I honestly would love to see them succeed – but trying to launch in these two very different markets (US & EU) with the first product seems like they were stretching themselves _very_ thin…

  • avatar
    CarnotCycle

    The pervasiveness of the positive attitudes towards this company are surprising to say the least. I was talking to my sister about the politics of global warming about three months ago and she brought up Tesla Roadsters and how this company was going to change the world, etc.

    That was really amazing because my sister doesn’t know the difference between a Tundra and a King Ranch, not a car person at all. I told her the dish on Tesla’s problems, info principally gleamed from Ye Deathwatch Towne here. She was quite militant frankly in her refutation of my rationality on this. Real believer, heard it on the interwebz and all, so I was the one uninformed. Ha! But it just goes to show how this company had succeeded in fooling just about everyone who is not really plugged into (no pun!) the car biz at large.

    I find this kind of scary in a way, because it looks like Uncle Scam is moving into this kind of thing (“green revolution”) in a big way with Uncle Obama locked and loaded at this point. The only thing Tesla has been very successful at is swaying public opinion and being the kind of scene a VIP or politician (technologically uninformed VIP’s and politicians at that) wants a photo-op for. I can see a mini-bubble coming of all kinds of sketchy start-ups with vaporware and promises soaking up a lot of my money in the near future just because of success in the perception biz, which is all politics and politicians run on. Tesla itself might wind up with a Treasury check or two just because of that perception people like my sister have of it. Sad.

  • avatar
    unleashed

    Tesla itself might wind up with a Treasury check or two just because of that perception people like my sister have of it.

    I think you might be onto something here.
    In the twilight world we’re about to enter comes Jan 2009, that proposal won’t look nearly as outrageous as it seems right now.
    Free money for everyone – taxpayers (ultimately the country) be damned!

  • avatar
    merz

    Tesla ARE delivering cars, 40+ now and at an increasing rate, for pocket change development costs. Also, contrary to whats reported on this site, the majority of customers are knocked out by how good it is. In the last 4 years they have been the only breath of fresh air in an industry stagnating in complacent greed. Over ambitious? And what?

  • avatar
    reality_bites

    Tesla has delivered nearly 50 cars now to all of the original founders and the Governator himself.

    So far, no major failures, then again it’s just a giant remote control car so what’s the big deal. People make this EV thing out to be so revolutionary. The truth is Tesla licensed the entire thing from AC propulsion and just tried to mass produce it; this is where the challenge is. Making a one off is simple, making thousands repeatable at a profit is hard! hence the big 3 is nearly dead.

    I would be surprise if Tesla makes it 4 more months.
    With $9M in the bank they don’t have enough cash flow to deliver the orders they have taken, especially now that it was revealed in valley wag that they have used customer deposits for operations. Elon claims he can back the deposits, but was that before he decided to cheat on his wife and having her file for divorce and take half of his remaining millions? The future looks like it’s on low charge given the initial potential.

  • avatar
    karkidd

    I’m surprised that another car company hasn’t offered to help Tesla though.

    I mean they could keep Tesla as a separate division and just help to ramp up production, advertising, etc.

  • avatar
    solarevolution

    Unfortunately the Tesla is still a car. Four wheels. One fallible driver. So, with or without green paint, it is no better than what’s produced by all the other manufacturers delivering tools that send over a million people to the grim reaper every year around the world. Including four of my close relatives over the years.

    In fact, it’s worse: it’s hotter and faster. More dangerous.

    The automobile would never meet environmental criteria if it were introduced fresh into today’s regulatory climate.

    We can do better in the 21st century. Automobile 2.0 will be automated.

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