Tesla's shrinking overhead: job openings drop below 1,000 for first time as store closures loom

2 weeks ago by Joshua Fruhlinger in Facts, Trends

For the first time since we began tracking job openings at Tesla ($NASDAQ:TSLA) in 2016, job openings at the company have dipped below 1,000. As of March 5, there are 965 openings at Tesla Motors.

Just last May (2018), openings at Tesla hit an all-time high of 3,210 when the company was in the throes of production and manufacturing for its new Model 3 as demand outpaced production.

But this week, openings are at less than a third of that: 965 open positions as of March 5, 2019. This hiring slowdown comes as the company announced that it would be closing hundreds of its brick-and-mortar outlets in favor of e-commerce.

As for the hiring slowdown, some Tesla investors would tell you that this signals that the electric vehicle company is in a good place: manufacturing is under control, and supply is meeting demand. That's a scalable, long-future place to be.

The store closures can be seen as a positive as well. Savvy buyers are likely buying new Teslas digitally anyway, and Tesla storefronts are little more than just that: stores with a few customer service associates who will help you order a car — there are no test drives, sales managers, or service centers. In other words, Tesla will be shedding a lot of lease overhead in the move as it focuses on e-commerce.

In fact, our reporting has shown that Tesla has been hiring an e-commerce team at its Kato Road facility for some time now with a search for Software Engineers and front-end developers.

As for the shrinking retail footprint, Tesla Stores' retail strategy has been targeted on high-income, urban areas, with London and Shanghai leading a long list of cities with multiple stores.

City

Entity Name (Count)

London

9

Shanghai

8

Beijing

7

Hong Kong

5

Guangzhou

4

Berlin

4

Shenzhen

4

Barcelona

4

Lyon

4

Chengdu

3

Put together, the slowing hiring activity and contraction of retail outlets are both signs of a company that's looking to reduce costs and find efficiencies if it expects to scale out. Time will tell if it works, especially as multiple competitors ready to enter the electric-vehicle space.

Joshua Fruhlinger

Joshua has been writing about technology, lifestyle, and business for over 20 years. He's one of the original writers and editors for Engadget, and still writes a...

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