Tesla Inc. is cutting 9 percent of its workforce in a wave of job cuts aimed mainly at the electric vehiclemaker's salaried employees.
It was not immediately clear if any of the layoffs would affect Tesla’s solar panel factory in Buffalo, where the company has been partnering with Panasonic.
Panasonic has been producing solar cells and panels at the factory, while Tesla is planning to produce its new solar roofing panels at the South Park Avenue facility. Tesla has said it has begun small-scale production of the roofing panels in Buffalo, but has never detailed the scope of its activity or said how many workers it has on site.
Together, the Buffalo plant has more than 600 workers, Tesla said.
The company also said it will stop selling rooftop solar energy systems through kiosks at Home Depot stores, declining to renew an agreement for the in-store sales channel at a time when Tesla's residential solar installations have dropped to a four-year low as the company tries to stem losses at the business it acquired from SolarCity in November 2016. Tesla said it would focus its solar energy sales efforts through its electric vehicle stores and online.
Elon Musk, Tesla's chairman, said on Twitter that the job cuts were "difficult, but necessary."
In an email that he released on Twitter, Musk that the job cuts were part of a "comprehensive organizational restructuring" driven by "the need to reduce costs and become profitable."
"Tesla has grown and evolved rapidly over the past several years, which has resulted in some duplication of roles and some job functions that, while they made sense in the past, are difficult to justify today," Musk wrote.
The job cuts were focused on Tesla's salaried staff and did not include production workers, which Musk said would not affect the company's push to ramp up production of its less expensive Model 3 electric vehicle, with a goal of producing 5,000 cars a week by the end of June.
"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 wrote. "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."