After a confusing back and forth, Tesla has reportedly agreed to operate its Fremont factory with a quarter of its workforce after negotiations with the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office.
The situation around Tesla’s operations in the Bay Area with the shutdown order has been confusing, as authorities have sent conflicting orders, according to Tesla.
Tesla Fremont factory was still operating this morning, despite the Sheriff’s Office stating that it needs to shut down under Alameda County’s shelter-in-place order.
The automaker and Alameda County officials have reportedly been in discussion throughout the day, and they came to an agreement, according to officials talking to Buzzfeed.
A spokesperson for the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office said that Tesla agreed to reduce its workforce:
They assured me in a phone call to do a stepdown reduction from about 10,000 to 2,500 people. The county is very sensitive to what they’re dealing with.
It’s unclear how many vehicles Tesla is going to be able to produce with its workforce slashed by 7,500 people.
Update: Alameda County now says that the limited operations at Tesla factory cannot involve making vehicles. They will take action if Tesla doesn’t comply.
Beyond the factory, as we reported yesterday, Tesla plans to keep its service and sale operations going with some social distancing measures in place.
However, Simon Property Group announced today that it is closing all of its retail properties until March 29, and Tesla has many stores located in Simon properties. About 20 Tesla stores in malls are being affected and more property owners could follow.
A source familiar with Tesla’s retail division said that the automaker plans to temporarily transfer the employees to its delivery operations.
It looks like, despite Tesla’s best effort, they are going to have to shut down some operations because of the coronavirus crisis.
I can see Tesla still being able to produce some cars with 2,500 workers at the Fremont factory, but it will likely not be more than 1,000 to 2,000 cars per week.
There’s also no doubt that Tesla’s sales will be way down this quarter, without a large end-of-the-quarter delivery push of inventory cars.
Tesla relies a lot on foot traffic for those pushes, and that’s definitely not happening these days.
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