Tesla Cuts Workers on Assembly Line

By Scott McGrew
|  Tuesday, Mar 5, 2013  |  Updated 5:24 PM PDT
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Scott McGrew reports on the cut in assembly line jobs and why that doesn't mean the end of hiring for the Bay Area car maker.

Scott McGrew reports on the cut in assembly line jobs and why that doesn't mean the end of hiring for the Bay Area car maker.

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Tesla motors is reducing the number of workers on its Fremont assembly line as it gains experience building its new Model S more efficiently, says Tesla spokeswoman Shanna Hendriks.

"We hired them to get up through the ramp for Model S and as building the car becomes more efficient, contracts will be ending throughout the [financial] quarter," said Hendriks.

Most of the jobs - though not all - were temporary in nature she added. Hendriks declined to give specific numbers.

Tesla employs about 4,000 people nationwide, including administrative staff, retail sales, engineering and assembly. It does not break out the numbers for the assembly line specifically.

Historically, assembly line jobs are the most vulnerable as companies learn new ways of manufacturing or identify time and labor saving methods. Tesla has hired in other areas, particularly in engineering.

"Our current plan is to have more full-time people in the company at the end of [March] than at the end of last year. We will continue to hire in critical areas and our goal is to convert many temporary people to full-time employment," Hendriks said.

The company had said much the same in its letter to shareholders at the end of 2012. Tesla earlier this week delayed its 10k filing with the federal government - a separate document which also examines the past year's business.

The company blamed the delay on an accounting mistake but promised the error would not affect the overall bottom line.

Some investors and analysts have expressed concern over the company's overall cash flow. Tesla has completely tapped a federal loan and recently floated a secondary offering (sold more stock) in order to raise more money. In a separate matter, Tesla today lost a court case in Great Britain against the popular television show Top Gear.

The car company accused the BBC of faking a scene in which the Tesla Roadster sports car appears to run out of charge. Tesla said the show - known for its silliness and staged scenes - hurt sales.

A panel of judges found the suit had little chance of succeeding.

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