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Media captionMeeting with the man who inspired the alter ego of Iron Man, Tony Stark: The automaker Tesla announced that he was going to downsize by 7% after a year "the most difficult" of its history. In an email to staff on the company's website, founder Elon Musk said the growth has been strong. But he added that it was difficult to manufacture Teslas with its new and developing technology as cheap as conventional cars, and that the company's cars were still too expensive. for most people ".Tesla employs more than 45,000 people, which indicates a reduction of about 3,000. The automaker's shares have opened 6% lower since the start of trading in the US On Friday, Musk said that 2018 was Tesla's "most successful", in which he had delivered almost as many cars as in previous years.

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However, while he had increased production of his mid-market model car 3, Musk said his products were too expensive for the average driver and his profits were too low.

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Legend

Tesla stepped up production of its mid-market model 3 car

"We hope that this quarter will allow us, with great difficulty, effort and luck, to target a small profit," he wrote. "However, starting in May, we will have to offer at least the mid-range model 3 variant in all markets because we need to reach more customers who can afford to buy our vehicles." In addition, we must continue to move towards less expensive solutions. variants of the model 3. "He clarified that Tesla had" no other choice "than to reduce the number of full-time employees and to retain" only the employees and the most critical temporary workers ".

He added that the company should make these cuts while "increasing the production rate of Model 3" and bringing many "technical improvements in manufacturing in the coming months". The years have been tough for the electric car manufacturer and its founder of scale. The company has repeatedly failed to meet its own production targets, pushing many investors to bet against it.

Analysis:

Theo Leggett, Business CorrespondentTesla is in a race against the clock. He is already well established as a niche producer of high-end electric vehicles. But this is not the place where society looks to its future. Electric cars are currently a lifestyle choice in many ways. But in the future, emissions regulations and restrictions on "regular" cars should propel them into the mainstream. This is potentially a huge market – and Tesla is aiming for a significant share. That's the reason for being its all-new model 3, touted as an "affordable" electric car. But model 3 is not yet so affordable – the cheapest versions have not yet been on sale. And she has to make many more to benefit from economies of scale. Manufacturers in the meantime will soon be entering the market for new electric vehicles. Last year, Tesla's priority was simply to increase production as quickly as possible. to the extent possible, to achieve ambitious goals. It took a lot of new employees to make this happen. Now we need to make more cars, cheaper – and we'll have to do it with fewer people. It will certainly not be easy, but according to Elon Musk, "there is no other way".

Mr Musk has also been involved in a number of scandals. He was notably sued by the US Securities and Exchange Commission after tweeting that he was considering privatizing Tesla. Some analysts speculated that Tesla would change course this year, but earlier this month. Quarterly shipments of Model 3 were disappointing. It was also necessary to reduce prices in the United States to offset the reduction in green tax credits.

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EPA

In his e-mail, Mr Musk said the company was cutting staff numbers after nearly a third of its workforce grew in 2018. "Tesla has only been producing cars for about a decade and we are facing to massive and well-established competitors, "he said. "The bottom line is that Tesla has to work far more than other manufacturers to survive while building affordable and sustainable products."