Tesla trims in-store sales staff amid shift to online

By TeslaFOXBusiness

Tesla CEO Elon Musk departs New York City courthouse after court battle with SEC

A U.S. judge has ordered the SEC and Tesla CEO Elon Musk to confer over the next two weeks to try to settle the matter over contempt.

Tesla laid off dozens of in-store sales employees, the electric carmaker said on Monday, as the company looks to reduce its physical footprint across the U.S. and shift operations online.

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The staff reductions hit stores in Chicago, Brooklyn, New York and Tampa, Florida, but a spokeswoman declined to share the exact number.

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The layoffs – first reported by Bloomberg -- were previewed in a recent blog post where Tesla outlined its new strategy, as well as a subsequent email from owner Elon Musk where he warned that “some jobs would be impacted or transitioned to other areas of the business.”

“This is a hard decision, but it necessary to make our cars more affordable. Our sales team has fought on the front lines of advancing our mission and has been our connection to hundreds of thousands of customers along the way,” Musk wrote at the time.

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Tesla previously reported that vehicle deliveries in the three months through March fell 31 percent year-over-year. The Palo Alto-based company attributed the decline to increased deliveries to Europe and China, which pushed some first quarter shipments to the subsequent three months period.

Morgan Stanley analyst Adam Jones on Monday cut his price target on Tesla to $240 per share after the lower-than-expected delivery number.

"We are increasingly concerned about the impact that investor concerns over Tesla's financial strength and forward looking liquidity position could potentially have on employee morale, customer perceptions and standing with key stakeholders and suppliers," he wrote.

Jonas predicted Tesla would deliver 344,000 vehicles this year, within the company’s own expectations but lower than his prior estimates.

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Since the start of 2019, Tesla’s stock has fallen roughly 11.6 percent to $274.96 per share.